Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers announces record results for 2007



    VANCOUVER, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated
(NYSE:   RBA; TSX: RBA) announces that it achieved net earnings of
$76.0 million, or $2.17 per diluted weighted average share, for the year ended
December 31, 2007, representing growth of 33% over 2006 net earnings of
$57.2 million, or $1.64 per diluted weighted average share. All dollar amounts
are presented in United States dollars.
    The Company achieved gross auction proceeds of $3.19 billion for 2007,
17% higher than gross auction proceeds in 2006 and an all-time record for the
Company. Record auction revenues of $315.2 million for 2007 were 21% higher
than in 2006. The Company's auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a
percentage of gross auction proceeds) was 9.89% in 2007, compared to 9.59% in
2006. Net earnings in 2007 increased over 2006 primarily as a result of higher
gross auction proceeds and a stronger auction revenue rate.
    Ritchie Bros. conducted 183 industrial auctions in 13 countries
throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia in 2007.
The Company set 19 regional gross auction proceeds records during the year,
including the largest auction held in the Company's history in February 2007
at the Company's permanent auction site in Orlando, Florida with gross auction
proceeds of $172 million. The Company also held 177 unreserved agricultural
auctions during 2007, generating gross auction proceeds of $131.9 million.
    The Company had a record of more than 254,000 bidder registrations at its
unreserved industrial auctions in 2007, of which approximately 80,000 were
successful buyers. In 2006, the Company had more than 241,000 bidder
registrations, of which approximately 74,000 were buyers.
    Ritchie Bros. worked with a record number of truck, equipment and other
asset sellers in 2007, selling approximately 265,000 lots on behalf of almost
35,000 consignors. In 2006, Ritchie Bros. sold approximately 240,000 lots for
over 32,000 consignors.
    The Company's auctions varied greatly in size in 2007, but the average
Ritchie Bros. industrial auction attracted almost 1,400 bidders who competed
for over 1,400 lots consigned by 191 consignors. The average gross auction
proceeds per industrial auction for 2007 was more than $16 million (2006 -
approximately $14 million).
    The Company's rbauctionBid-Live internet bidding service also set records
in 2007, with over $600 million worth of trucks, equipment, and real estate
being sold to nearly 13,000 customers from 79 countries in 2007. This is an
increase of more than 35% over last year's online gross auction proceeds. More
than 77,000 customers from 170 countries have now registered and received
approval to use rbauctionBid-Live. Internet bidders represented approximately
27% of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions in
2007, and they were the buyer or runner up bidder on 28% of the lots offered
online at these auctions. The Company has now sold in excess of $1.5 billion
of industrial and agricultural assets over the internet.
    Peter Blake, the Company's CEO, remarked: "2007 was a great year for
Ritchie Bros., and we could not have accomplished such strong results without
the unparalleled contributions of all the men and women on the Ritchie Bros.
team. We are focused on creating value for our customers and we do this by
using unreserved auctions to create a global marketplace. We are the proud
custodians of a highly scalable and efficient business model with 50 years of
reputation and history behind us. We are expanding successfully all over the
world, and yet, despite all the success we enjoyed in 2007 and our growth in
recent years, we still think we are just scratching the surface." Mr. Blake
added: "We believe we have big growth opportunities in front of us. As a
result, we are continuing to take steps to position our business for
sustainable long-term growth by hiring more great people, expanding our
international network of auction sites and investing in process improvement
initiatives."
    For the quarter ended December 31, 2007, gross auction proceeds were
$873.3 million and auction revenues were $83.3 million. The auction revenue
rate was 9.53%. Net earnings for the quarter were $17.0 million, or $0.48 per
diluted weighted average share, compared to $9.8 million, or $0.28 per diluted
share, in 2006.
    The Company also announced that its Board of Directors has approved a
three-for-one stock split for its common shares, subject to the approval of
the Company's shareholders at the Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders,
scheduled to be held on April 11, 2008.
    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 is 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 27 countries
around the world. The Company sells, through unreserved public auctions, a
broad range of used and unused industrial equipment including trucks,
equipment and other assets used in the construction, transportation, mining,
forestry, petroleum, materials handling, marine, real estate and agricultural
industries. Ritchie Bros. maintains a website at www.rbauction.com.

    Earnings Conference Call

    Ritchie Bros. is hosting a conference call to discuss its 2007 financial
results at 8:00am Pacific Time (11:00am Eastern Time) on February 21, 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; growth opportunities; the Company's
ability to grow its earnings at a sustainable pace; the scalability and
efficiency of the Company's business model; and investments in auction sites,
people and process improvements. 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          Year ended     Year ended
     (USD thousands, except share and per         December 31,   December 31,
     share amounts)                                      2007           2006
                                                  ---------------------------

    Gross auction proceeds                        $ 3,186,463    $ 2,721,023
                                                  ------------   ------------
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Auction revenues                              $   315,231    $   261,040
    Direct expenses                                    42,413         36,976
                                                  ------------   ------------
                                                      272,818        224,064
    Expenses
      Depreciation and amortization                    19,417         15,017
      General and administrative                      142,014        118,165
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Earnings from operations                          111,387         90,882

    Other income (expense)
      Interest expense                                 (1,206)        (1,172)
      Gain on disposition of capital assets(1)            243          1,277
      Other income                                      1,471          1,079
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Earnings before income taxes                      111,895         92,066

    Income taxes                                       35,912         34,848
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Net earnings                                  $    75,983    $    57,218
                                                  ------------   ------------
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Net earnings per share                        $      2.19    $      1.66
    Net earnings per share - diluted              $      2.17    $      1.64

    Weighted average shares outstanding            34,755,371     34,546,460
    Diluted weighted average shares
     outstanding                                   35,087,432     34,852,000

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings in accordance with GAAP          $    75,983    $    57,218
    Less: after-tax gain on sale of excess
     property(1)                                            -           (953)
                                                  ------------   ------------
    Adjusted net earnings                         $    75,983    $    56,265
                                                  ------------   ------------
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Adjusted net earnings per share               $      2.19    $      1.63
    Adjusted net earnings per share - diluted     $      2.17    $      1.61

    (1) Net earnings for the year ended December 31, 2006 included the
        $1,589 ($953 or $0.03 per diluted share after tax) effect of gains
        recorded on the sale of excess property net of the write-down of
        assets held for resale. The Company has highlighted these amounts
        because it does not consider these gains to be part of its normal
        operations.



    Consolidated Statements of Operations        Three months   Three months
     (USD thousands, except share and per               ended          ended
     share amounts)                               December 31,   December 31,
                                                         2007           2006
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                   (unaudited)    (unaudited)

    Gross auction proceeds                        $   873,306    $   738,731
                                                  ------------   ------------
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Auction revenues                              $    83,266    $    70,699
    Direct expenses                                    13,399         11,080
                                                  ------------   ------------
                                                       69,867         59,619
    Expenses
      Depreciation and amortization                     5,516          4,366
      General and administrative                       42,023         36,599
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Earnings from operations                           22,328         18,654

    Other income (expense)
      Interest expense                                   (308)          (169)
      Other income                                        452            267
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Earnings before income taxes                       22,472         18,752

    Income taxes                                        5,506          8,962
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Net earnings                                  $    16,966    $     9,790
                                                  ------------   ------------
                                                  ------------   ------------

    Net earnings per share                        $      0.49    $      0.28
    Net earnings per share - diluted              $      0.48    $      0.28

    Weighted average shares outstanding            34,809,338     34,626,968
    Diluted weighted average shares
     outstanding                                   35,212,182     34,988,030



    Selected Balance Sheet Data                   December 31,   December 31,
     (USD thousands)                                     2007           2006
                                                  ---------------------------

    Current assets                                $   237,185    $   228,067
    Current liabilities                               178,978        133,698
                                                  ------------   ------------
    Working capital                               $    58,207    $    94,369

    Total assets                                      672,887        554,227
    Long-term debt                                     44,844         43,081
    Total shareholders' equity                        435,116        368,637

    Selected Operating Data (unaudited)

    Auction revenues as percentage of gross
     auction proceeds (12 mos)                          9.89%          9.59%
    Number of consignors at industrial
     auctions (12 mos)                                 34,931         32,075
    Number of bidders at industrial
     auctions (12 mos)                                254,259        241,132
    Number of buyers at industrial
     auctions (12 mos)                                 80,340         73,967
    Number of permanent auction sites                      28             26
    Number of regional auction units                        9              7
    

    %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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