Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers achieves over $1 billion of gross auction proceeds in second quarter and increases dividend



    VANCOUVER, Aug. 8 /CNW/ - Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated (NYSE
and TSX: RBA) announces another record-breaking quarter, with quarterly gross
auction proceeds exceeding $1 billion for the first time. Net earnings for the
six months ended June 30, 2008 reached $62.3 million, or $0.59 per diluted
weighted average share. Net earnings for the first half of 2008 would have
been $55.0 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, had after-tax gains of
$7.3 million on the sale of excess property been excluded. The Company has
highlighted these gains because it does not consider them to be part of its
normal operating results. This compares to net earnings of $44.1 million, or
$0.42 per diluted share for the six months ended June 30, 2007, representing
earnings growth of 25% over the first half of 2007. All dollar amounts are
presented in United States dollars and all share and per share information
reflects the three-for-one split of the Company's common shares that occurred
at the close of business on April 24, 2008.
    Gross auction proceeds for the six months ended June 30, 2008 were
$1.95 billion, 18% higher than gross auction proceeds for the first half of
2007. Auction revenues increased 21% to $197.2 million for the six months
ended June 30, 2008 compared to the first six months of 2007. The Company's
auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction
proceeds) was 10.14% in 2008, compared to 9.88% in the first half of 2007.
    The Company achieved gross auction proceeds of $1.16 billion in the
second quarter of 2008, representing a 23% increase compared to the second
quarter of 2007. Auction revenues were $115.8 million for the three months
ended June 30, 2008, compared to $94.1 million for the second quarter of 2007.
The Company's auction revenue rate was 9.95% for the second quarter of 2008.
Net earnings for the three months ended June 30, 2008 were $45.9 million, or
$0.43 per diluted share. Had after-tax gains on the sale of excess property
been excluded, net earnings would have been $38.6 million, or $0.37 per
diluted share, which represented a 45% increase over the prior year.
    Ritchie Bros. conducted 92 unreserved industrial auctions in 12 countries
throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia during
the first half of 2008. The Company set eight regional gross auction proceeds
records during the period, including the largest auction in the Company's
history, held in February 2008 at the Company's permanent auction site in
Orlando, Florida with gross auction proceeds of $190 million.
    During the first half of 2008, the Company had almost 140,000 bidder
registrations at its unreserved industrial auctions, of which over 41,000 were
successful buyers. In the first half of 2007, the Company had more than
129,000 bidder registrations, of which over 40,000 were buyers.
    Ritchie Bros. worked with a large number of truck, equipment and other
asset sellers in the first half of 2008, selling almost 123,000 lots from over
18,000 consignments. In the first half of 2007, Ritchie Bros. sold almost
138,000 lots from over 17,000 consignments.
    Although the Company's auctions varied greatly in size over the 12 months
ended June 30, 2008, the average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction attracted
over 1,400 bidders who competed for more than 1,400 lots consigned by 193
consignors, generating average gross auction proceeds per industrial auction
of $17.8 million (12 months ended June 30, 2007 - $15.9 million).
    Almost $370 million worth of trucks, equipment, and other assets were
sold using the Company's rbauctionBid-Live internet bidding service during the
first half of 2008. This is an increase of 21% over the online gross auction
proceeds during the first half of 2007. More than 89,000 customers from almost
180 countries have now registered and received approval to use
rbauctionBid-Live. Internet bidders represented approximately 26% of the total
registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions for the six month
period ended June 30, 2008, and they were the buyer or runner up bidder on
approximately 29% of the lots offered online at these auctions. Since
launching its internet bidding service in 2002, the Company has now sold over
$2.1 billion of trucks, equipment, and other assets over the internet.
    Peter Blake, the Company's CEO, said: "Each year we have welcomed more
bidders and more sellers from around the world to our auctions and that trend
continued in the first six months of 2008. Many of the markets and regions we
serve are experiencing challenging economic times, yet our auctions were, on
average, larger than ever before. We proudly conducted our first
billion-dollar quarter in Q2 and set a number of new company records,
including our highest auction revenues, net earnings and earnings per share
for one quarter. We are very pleased with these results because they are
evidence of our success to date in executing our ongoing growth strategy,
which emphasizes continual reinvestment in our people, places and processes.
In the past six months we continued to lay the foundation for sustainable
long-term growth by hiring and training more qualified sales and support
personnel; expanding and improving our global network of auction sites; and
investing in the development of more efficient and scalable business
processes."
    The Company's Board of Directors also announces the declaration of a
quarterly cash dividend of $0.09 per common share payable on September 12,
2008 to shareholders of record on August 22, 2008, representing a 13% increase
over the Company's previous quarterly dividend.
    Gross auction proceeds represent the total proceeds from all items sold
at Ritchie Bros. auctions. The Company's definition of gross auction proceeds
may differ from those used by other participants in its industry. Gross
auction proceeds is an important measure the Company uses in comparing and
assessing its operating performance. It is not a measure of the Company's
financial performance, liquidity or revenue and is not presented in its
consolidated financial statements. The Company believes that auction revenues,
which are the most directly comparable measure in its Statements of
Operations, and certain other line items, are best understood by considering
their relationship to gross auction proceeds. Auction revenues represent the
revenues earned by Ritchie Bros. in the course of conducting its auctions, and
consist primarily of commissions earned on consigned equipment and net profit
on the sale of equipment purchased by the Company and sold in the same manner
as consigned equipment.

    About Ritchie Bros.

    Established in 1958, Ritchie Bros. is the world's largest auctioneer of
industrial equipment, operating through over 110 locations in more than 27
countries around the world. The Company sells, through unreserved public
auctions, a broad range of used and unused industrial assets, including
equipment, trucks and other assets utilized in the construction,
transportation, material handling, mining, forestry, petroleum, marine, and
agricultural industries. The Company maintains a web site at
www.rbauction.com.

    Earnings Conference Call

    Ritchie Bros. is hosting a conference call to discuss its 2008 first half
financial results at 8:00am Pacific Time (11:00am Eastern Time) on August 8,
2008. To access a live broadcast of the conference call, please go to the
Ritchie Bros. website http://www.rbauction.com, click on 'About Ritchie Bros.'
then click on 'Investor Information'. Please go to the website at least
fifteen minutes early to download and install any necessary audio software. A
replay will be available on the website shortly after the call.

    Forward-looking Statements

    The discussion in this press release relating to future events or
operating periods contains forward-looking statements (as defined in Section
21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) that involve risks and
uncertainties, including, in particular, statements regarding anticipated
results for future periods and growth opportunities. These risks and
uncertainties include: the numerous factors that influence the supply of and
demand for used equipment; fluctuations in the market values of used
equipment; seasonal and periodic variations in operating results; actions of
competitors; the success of the Company's internet initiatives; conditions in
local and regional markets; our ability to attract and retain key employees,
develop additional auction sites and successfully complete our process
improvement initiatives and other systems upgrades; and other risks and
uncertainties as detailed from time to time in the Company's SEC and Canadian
securities filings, including the Company's Management's Discussion and
Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for the year ended
December 31, 2007, available on the SEC, SEDAR and Company's websites. Actual
results may differ materially from those forward-looking statements. The
Company does not undertake any obligation to update the information contained
herein, which speaks only as of this date.


    
    Consolidated Statements of Operations         Six months      Six months
     (USD thousands, except share and per      ended June 30,  ended June 30,
     share amounts)                                     2008            2007
                                                  (unaudited)     (unaudited)
                                              -------------------------------

    Gross auction proceeds                      $  1,945,515    $  1,645,624
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Auction revenues(1)                         $    197,216    $    162,603
    Direct expenses(1)                                26,496          22,205
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                                     170,720         140,398
    Expenses
      Depreciation and amortization                   11,587           9,008
      General and administrative                      82,482          65,062
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Earnings from operations                          76,651          66,328

    Other income (expense)
      Interest expense                                  (514)           (706)
      Interest income                                  2,346           3,498
      Gain on disposition of capital assets            7,310             156
      Other income                                       677             920
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Earnings before income taxes                      86,470          70,196

    Income taxes                                      24,144          26,082
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Net earnings(2)                             $     62,326    $     44,114
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Net earnings per share(2)(3)                $       0.60    $       0.42
    Net earnings per share - diluted(2)(3)      $       0.59    $       0.42

    Diluted weighted average shares
     outstanding(3)                              105,730,812     105,032,169

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings in accordance with GAAP        $     62,326    $     44,114
    Less: after-tax gain on sale of property(2)       (7,295)              -
                                              --------------- ---------------
    Adjusted net earnings                       $     55,031    $     44,114
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Adjusted net earnings per share(3)          $       0.53    $       0.42
    Adjusted net earnings per share
     - diluted(3)                               $       0.52    $       0.42

    (1) Figures have been reclassified to conform with presentation adopted
        in the current period.

    (2) Net earnings for the six months ended June 30, 2008 included total
        gains of $8,304 ($7,295 after tax) recorded on the sale of excess
        property. The Company highlighted this amount because it does not
        consider this gain to be part of the normal course of its operations.

    (3) Share and per share amounts have been adjusted on a retroactive basis
        to reflect the three-for-one stock split that occurred on
        April 24, 2008.



    Consolidated Statements of Earnings        Three months    Three months
     (USD thousands, except share and per     ended June 30,  ended June 30,
     share amounts)                                    2008            2007
                                              -------------------------------
                                                 (unaudited)      (unaudited)

    Gross auction proceeds                      $  1,163,546    $    945,256
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Auction revenues(1)                         $    115,822    $     94,054
    Direct expenses(1)                                16,381          14,640
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                                      99,441          79,414
    Expenses:
      Depreciation and amortization                    5,983           4,783
      General and administrative                      40,891          34,333
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Earnings from operations                          52,567          40,298
    Other income (expense):
      Interest expense                                  (144)           (380)
      Interest income                                  1,061           2,191
      Gain on disposition of capital assets            7,217              93
      Other income                                       434             568
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Earnings before income taxes                      61,135          42,770

    Income taxes                                      15,216          16,215
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Net earnings(2)                             $     45,919    $     26,555
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Net earnings per share(2)(3)                $       0.44    $       0.25
    Net earnings per share - diluted(2)(3)      $       0.43    $       0.25

    Diluted weighted average shares
     outstanding(3)                              105,772,717     105,213,993

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings in accordance with GAAP        $     45,919    $     26,555
    Less: after-tax gain on sale of property(2)       (7,295)              -
                                              --------------- ---------------
    Adjusted net earnings                       $     38,624    $     26,555
                                              --------------- ---------------
                                              --------------- ---------------

    Adjusted net earnings per share(3)          $       0.37    $       0.25
    Adjusted net earnings per share
     - diluted(3)                               $       0.37    $       0.25

    (1) Figures have been reclassified to conform with presentation adopted
        in the current period.

    (2) Net earnings for the three months ended June 30, 2008 included total
        gains of $8,304 ($7,295 after tax) recorded on the sale of excess
        property. The Company highlighted this amount because it does not
        consider this gain to be part of the normal course of its operations.

    (3) Share and per share amounts have been adjusted on a retroactive basis
        to reflect the three-for-one stock split that occurred on
        April 24, 2008.



    Selected Balance Sheet Data                June 30, 2008     December 31,
     (USD thousands)                              (unaudited)           2007
                                              -------------------------------

    Current assets                              $    478,097    $    237,185
    Current liabilities                              399,306         178,978
                                              --------------- ---------------
    Working capital                             $     78,791    $     58,207

    Total assets                                     943,601         672,887
    Long-term debt                                    44,509          44,844
    Total shareholders' equity                       487,685         435,116


                                                  Six months      Six months
                                               ended June 30,  ended June 30,
    Selected Operating Data (unaudited)                 2008            2007
                                              -------------------------------

    Number of industrial auctions                         92              87
    Number of agricultural auctions                      110             146
    Auction revenues as percentage of gross
     auction proceeds                                 10.14%           9.88%
    Number of consignments at industrial
     auctions                                         18,786          17,321
    Number of bidders at industrial auctions         139,864         129,112
    Number of buyers at industrial auctions           41,248          40,672
    Number of permanent auction sites                     30              27
    Number of regional auction units                       8              10
    

    %SEDAR: 00010198E




For further information:

For further information: Jeremy Black, Director, Business Development,
Corporate Secretary, Phone: (604) 273-7564, Fax: (604) 273-2405, Email:
ir@rbauction.com


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