Whenever they grew tired of the production line, workers in a cigarette factory in the Dutch town of Zevenaar could look up from their labours and gaze on avant-garde works by artists such as Karel Appel and Anton Henning, which decorated the factory. Now, no longer. The plant was closed by BAT Industries last year and the art – a collection brought together to improve the quality of employees’ working lives – has largely been sold off.
While a factory closure or a change in strategy may cause companies to sell their art, a more pressing reason is the turmoil gripping markets. Finance directors are looking afresh at these non-core assets and seeing the chance to release much-needed cash. Read more