Ritchie Bros.’ Gross Auction Sales Break Record in 2006

Tue April 03, 2007 - National Edition
CEG



Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. announced its financial results for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006. The company finished 2006 with net earnings of $57.2 million, or $1.64 per diluted weighted average share, a 7 percent increase over 2005 net earnings of $53.6 million, or $1.54 per diluted weighted average share.

Net earnings in 2006 and 2005 included gains on sales of surplus property. Excluding these items, which the company does not consider part of its normal operations, net earnings in 2006 would have been $56.2 million, or $1.61 per diluted weighted average share, a 14 percent increase compared to net earnings in 2005 of $49.5 million, or $1.43 per diluted weighted average share. The gains on sales of excess property contributed an additional $1.6 million ($1.0 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, after tax) in 2006 and $6.4 million ($4.1 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, after tax) in 2005.

Gross auction sales for 2006 were $2.72 billion, 30 percent higher than gross auction sales in 2005 and an all-time record for the company. Auction revenues in 2006 were $261.0 million, also a record level and a 23 percent increase compared to 2005.

The company’s auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction sales) was 9.59 percent in 2006, compared to 10.16 percent in 2005. Earnings increased in 2006 as a result of higher gross auction sales, offset in part by a lower auction revenue rate and increased operating costs compared to the prior year.

Ritchie Bros. conducted 177 industrial auctions in 13 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia in 2006. The company set 11 regional gross auction sales records during the year, including the largest auction held in the company’s history in February 2006 at Orlando, Fla., with gross auction sales of $113 million.

The company also generated gross auction sales of $130.2 million from its agricultural division in 2006, compared to $76.4 million in 2005. In addition to selling real estate at many of its industrial and agricultural auctions, the company held one auction in 2006 that focused primarily on real estate.

A record of more than 241,000 bidders registered for Ritchie Bros.’ unreserved industrial auctions in 2006, of which approximately 74,000 were successful buyers. In 2005, the company recorded more than 213,000 bidder registrations, of which more than 62,000 were buyers.

During the past year, Ritchie Bros. worked with a record number of truck, equipment and other asset sellers, handling more than 32,000 consignments, which totaled approximately 240,000 lots sold in the year. In 2005, Ritchie Bros. handled more than 27,000 consignments and more than 203,000 lots.

Although the company’s auctions varied in size in 2006, the average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction featured more than 1,350 lots consigned by approximately 180 consignors, and attracted more than 1,360 bidders. The average gross auction sales per industrial auction for the year was more than $14 million (2005 - $13 million). The average gross auction sales per agricultural auction was $0.9 million, a 20 percent increase compared to the average in 2005.

The company’s rbauctionBid-Live internet bidding service also set records in 2006. More than 9,600 customers from 76 countries purchased more than $440 million worth of trucks, equipment, and real estate in 2006 using rbauctionBid-Live. This is an increase of more than 57 percent over last year’s online gross auction sales.

More than 57,000 customers from 150 countries have now registered and received approval to use rbauctionBid-Live. On average, internet bidders represented approximately 24 percent of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions in 2006, and they were the buyer or runner up bidder on 24 percent of the lots offered online at these auctions.

The company has now sold in excess of $1 billion of trucks, equipment and other assets to online buyers since the launch of rbauctionBid-Live in 2002.

Peter Blake, the company’s CEO, remarked: “I am very pleased with our results in 2006. Sales reached new record levels; however, expenses were also up in 2006 as we continued to invest in our platform for future growth. We also incurred some expenses in the fourth quarter that we do not expect in future periods. Although our G&A increased in 2006 compared to the prior year, we are happy that our sales grew at a faster pace and that our G&A expenses decreased as a percentage of gross auction sales.”

Blake was happy with the company’s Internet activities.

“Our performance in 2006 demonstrated that an ever-increasing number of equipment owners are choosing to buy and sell at our unreserved auctions — they want access to the global marketplace and that’s what a Ritchie Bros. auction delivers,” Blake said.

“Our auctions match local supply with global demand, which is a model that has proven to be very powerful in today’s transparent market for used equipment,” Blake said.

“I am particularly pleased with the increasingly significant role being played by our rbauctionBid-Live internet bidding service. Thanks to this service, bidders can attend our auctions in person or participate live and in real-time over the internet. This offers the best of both worlds for sellers as we are able to expose their trucks and equipment to the broadest possible bidding audiences.”

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2006, gross auction sales were $738.7 million and auction revenues were $70.1 million. The auction revenue rate was 9.57 percent. Net earnings for the quarter were $9.8 million, or $0.28 per diluted weighted average share, compared to $14.2 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, in 2005.

Gross auction sales represent the aggregate selling prices of all items sold at auction and are not presented in the company’s consolidated financial statements; the comparable financial statement measure is auction revenues, consisting primarily of commissions earned on consigned equipment and net profit on the sale of equipment purchased by Ritchie Bros. and sold in the same manner as consigned equipment.

For more information, visit www.rbauction.com.