Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers announces strong third quarter results; challenging economic times generate demand for unreserved auctions



    VANCOUVER, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated (NYSE
and TSX: RBA) announces record net earnings for the nine months ended
September 30, 2008 of $74.3 million, or $0.70 per diluted weighted average
share and adjusted net earnings of $67.0 million, or $0.63 per diluted share.
The Company defines adjusted net earnings as financial statement net earnings
excluding the after-tax effect of sales of excess properties. This compares to
adjusted net earnings of $59.0 million, or $0.56 per diluted share for the
nine months ended September 30, 2007, representing adjusted net earnings
growth of 14% over the first nine months of 2007. The Company conducted 134
unreserved industrial auctions in 12 countries throughout North America,
Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia during the first nine months of
2008 and set 10 regional gross auction proceeds records during the period. 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 nine months ended September 30, 2008 were
$2.71 billion, 17% higher than gross auction proceeds for the first nine
months of 2007. Auction revenues increased 19% to $273.1 million for the nine
months ended September 30, 2008 compared to the first nine months of 2007. The
Company's auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross
auction proceeds) was 10.07% in 2008, compared to 9.93% in the first nine
months of 2007.
    During the third quarter of 2008, the Company achieved gross auction
proceeds of $767.7 million, 15% higher than the comparable quarter in 2007.
Auction revenues were $75.9 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2008,
compared to $67.2 million for the third quarter of 2007. The Company's auction
revenue rate for the third quarter of 2008 was 9.89%. Net earnings for the
three months ended September 30, 2008 were $11.9 million, or $0.11 per diluted
share.
    During the first nine months of 2008, the Company had almost 198,000
bidder registrations at its unreserved industrial auctions, of which almost
60,000 were successful buyers. In the first nine months of 2007, the Company
had more than 183,000 bidder registrations, of which over 59,000 were buyers.
    Ritchie Bros. worked with a large number of truck, equipment and other
asset sellers in the first nine months of 2008, selling almost 178,000 lots
from over 27,000 consignments. In the first nine months of 2007, Ritchie Bros.
sold over 197,000 lots from over 25,000 consignments.
    Although the Company's auctions varied greatly in size over the 12 months
ended September 30, 2008, the average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction
attracted over 1,400 bidders who competed for almost 1,300 lots consigned by
191 consignors, generating average gross auction proceeds per industrial
auction of $18.1 million (12 months ended September 30, 2007 - $15.3 million).
    Over $500 million worth of trucks, equipment, and other assets were sold
using the Company's rbauctionBid-Live internet bidding service during the
first nine months of 2008. This is an increase of 23% over the online gross
auction proceeds during the first nine months of 2007. More than 93,000
customers from almost 180 countries have now registered and received approval
to use rbauctionBid-Live. Internet bidders represented approximately 28% of
the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions for the
nine-month period ended September 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 $2.3 billion of trucks, equipment, and other assets over the internet.
    "We're pleased to see the results of our long-term growth strategy
reflected in our year-to-date performance and believe we're on track to
achieve our earnings targets for 2008," said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros. CEO.
"For decades we've been helping equipment owners create almost instant
liquidity by selling their underutilized assets at our unreserved public
auctions. As the world's largest industrial auctioneer, selling more used
equipment to on site and on line bidders than anyone else, with offices in 25
countries and customers in more than 200, we're uniquely positioned to reach
buyers from around the world and help our customers sell their equipment
quickly, efficiently and for global fair market value. With so many companies
facing liquidity challenges right now, our value proposition is more
compelling than ever."
    The Company's Board of Directors also announces the declaration of a
quarterly cash dividend of $0.09 per common share payable on December 12, 2008
to shareholders of record on November 21, 2008. This dividend will be
considered an eligible dividend for Canadian income tax purposes.
    Subsequent to period end, the Company entered into a new five-year
committed credit facility, which increased the Company's available revolving
credit facilities from approximately $158 million to $293 million. The Company
has entered into this credit facility to give it long-term flexibility and
access to capital to support future growth initiatives.
    Adjusted net earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure that does not have
a standardized meaning, and is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar
measures presented by other companies. The Company believes that comparing
adjusted net earnings as defined above for different financial periods
provides more useful information about the growth or decline of net earnings
for the relevant financial period and isolates the impact of sales of excess
properties, which the Company does not consider to be part of its normal
operating results.
    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. Auctioneers (NYSE and TSX: RBA) is the
world's largest industrial auctioneer, selling more equipment to on-site and
online bidders than any other company in the world. The Company has over 110
locations in more than 25 countries including 38 auction sites worldwide.
Ritchie Bros. 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, agricultural, material handling,
mining, forestry, petroleum and marine industries. The Company maintains a web
site at www.rbauction.com and sponsors an equipment wiki at
www.RitchieWiki.com.

    Earnings Conference Call

    Ritchie Bros. is hosting a conference call to discuss its financial
results for the first nine months of 2008 at 8:00am Pacific Time (11:00am
Eastern Time) on October 30, 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              Nine months ended  Nine months ended
     of Operations (USD thousands,      September 30, 2008 September 30, 2007
     except share and per share amounts)    (unaudited)        (unaudited)
                                       --------------------------------------
    Gross auction proceeds                  $   2,713,233      $   2,313,177
                                            -------------      --------------
                                            -------------      --------------
    Auction revenues(1)                     $     273,125      $     229,777
    Direct expenses(1)                             36,736             32,035
                                            -------------      --------------
                                                  236,389            197,742
    Expenses
      Depreciation and amortization                18,223             13,901
      General and administrative                  125,698             99,991
                                            -------------      --------------

    Earnings from operations                       92,468             83,850

    Other income (expense)
      Interest expense                               (743)              (898)
      Interest income(1)                            3,618              5,209
      Gain on disposition of capital assets         6,813                214
      Other income                                    992              1,048
                                            -------------      --------------

    Earnings before income taxes                  103,148             89,423

    Income taxes                                   28,888             30,406
                                            -------------      --------------

    Net earnings(2)                         $      74,260      $      59,017
                                            -------------      --------------
                                            -------------      --------------

    Net earnings per share(2)(3)            $        0.71      $        0.57
    Net earnings per share - diluted(2)(3)  $        0.70      $        0.56

    Diluted weighted average
     shares outstanding(3)                    105,711,309        105,143,715

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings in accordance with GAAP    $      74,260      $      59,017
    Less: after-tax gain on
     sale of property(2)                           (7,295)                 -
                                            -------------      --------------
    Adjusted net earnings                   $      66,965      $      59,017
                                            -------------      --------------
                                            -------------      --------------

    Adjusted net earnings per share(3)      $        0.64      $        0.57
    Adjusted net earnings
     per share - diluted(3)                 $        0.63      $        0.56

    (1) Figures have been reclassified to conform with presentation adopted
        in the current period.
    (2) Net earnings for the nine months ended September 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 gains 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             Three months ended Three months ended
     of Operations (USD thousands,      September 30, 2008 September 30, 2007
     except share and per share amounts)    (unaudited)        (unaudited)
                                       --------------------------------------

    Gross auction proceeds                  $     767,718      $     667,553
                                            -------------      --------------
                                            -------------      --------------
    Auction revenues(1)                     $      75,909      $      67,174
    Direct expenses(1)                             10,240              9,830
                                            -------------      --------------
                                                   65,669             57,344
    Expenses:
      Depreciation and amortization                 6,636              4,893
      General and administrative                   43,216             34,929
                                            -------------      --------------

    Earnings from operations                       15,817             17,522
    Other income (expense):
      Interest expense                               (229)              (192)
      Interest income(1)                            1,272              1,711
      Gain (loss) on disposition of
       capital assets                                (497)                58
      Other income                                    315                128
                                            -------------      --------------

    Earnings before income taxes                   16,678             19,227

    Income taxes                                    4,744              4,324
                                            -------------      --------------

    Net earnings                            $      11,934      $      14,903
                                            -------------      --------------
                                            -------------      --------------

    Net earnings per share(2)               $        0.11      $        0.14
    Net earnings per share - diluted(2)     $        0.11      $        0.14

    Diluted weighted average shares
     outstanding(2)                           105,780,001        105,409,926

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) Figures have been reclassified to conform with presentation adopted
        in the current period.
    (2) 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        September 30, 2008  December 31, 2007
     (USD thousands)                       (unaudited)
                                       --------------------------------------
    Current assets                          $     420,404      $     237,185
    Current liabilities                           367,133            178,978
                                            -------------      --------------
    Working capital                         $      53,271      $      58,207

    Total assets                                  893,929            672,887
    Long-term debt                                 43,927             44,844
    Total shareholders' equity                    474,026            435,116

    Selected Operating Data (unaudited)  Nine months ended  Nine months ended
                                        September 30, 2008 September 30, 2007
                                       --------------------------------------
    Number of industrial auctions                     134                126
    Number of agricultural auctions                   125                160
    Auction revenues as percentage
     of gross auction proceeds                     10.07%              9.93%
    Number of consignments at
     industrial auctions                           27,068             25,068
    Number of bidders at industrial auctions      197,824            183,661
    Number of buyers at industrial auctions        59,625             58,580
    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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