Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers reports strong earnings and record auction results in the first quarter



    VANCOUVER, May 5 /CNW/ - Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated (NYSE and
TSX: RBA) announces net earnings of $19.9 million, or $0.19 per diluted share,
and adjusted net earnings of $19.2 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, for
the first quarter of 2009. This compares to adjusted net earnings of $15.3
million, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2008. Adjusted
net earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure and is defined below. Financial
statement net earnings for the first quarter of 2008 were $16.4 million, or
$0.16 per diluted share. The Company conducted 32 industrial auctions in nine
countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia
during the first quarter of 2009, and set three regional gross auction
proceeds records. The Company also opened two replacement auction facilities
in the first quarter of 2009 as it continued its global auction site expansion
program. All dollar amounts in this release are presented in United States
dollars.
    Gross auction proceeds for the three months ended March 31, 2009 were
$798 million, 2% higher than the first quarter of 2008 and the highest first
quarter gross auction proceeds in Company history. Auction revenues were $83.7
million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, a 3% increase compared to the
first quarter of 2008. Gross auction proceeds and auction revenues in local
currency, being mainly the Canadian dollar, Euro and Australian dollar,
increased 8% and 10%, respectively, compared to the first quarter of 2008. The
Company's auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross
auction proceeds) was 10.48% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to 10.41%
in the first quarter of 2008. Adjusted net earnings for the quarter ended
March 31, 2009 increased 26% over the comparable period in 2008 as a result of
higher gross auction proceeds and a stronger auction revenue rate, combined
with lower operating costs.
    The Company had almost 74,000 bidder registrations at its unreserved
industrial auctions in the first quarter of 2009, of which approximately
21,000 were successful buyers. In the first quarter of 2008, the Company had
approximately 60,000 bidder registrations, of which over 16,000 were buyers.
    Ritchie Bros. worked with a large number of truck, equipment and other
asset sellers in the first quarter of 2009, selling almost 61,000 lots on
behalf of close to 7,000 consignors. In the first quarter of 2008, Ritchie
Bros. sold close to 49,000 lots for over 7,000 consignors.
    The Company's auctions varied in size over the 12 months ended March 31,
2009, but the average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction attracted over 1,500
bidders who competed for almost 1,400 lots consigned by 187 consignors. The
average gross auction proceeds per industrial auction for the 12 months ended
March 31, 2009 was approximately $17.8 million (12 months ended March 31, 2008
- $17.2 million).
    Ritchie Bros. sold more than $166 million of trucks, equipment, and other
assets to online bidders during the first quarter of 2009, representing a 19%
increase compared to the first quarter of 2008. More than 105,000 customers
from over 180 countries have now registered and received approval to bid
online at Ritchie Bros. auctions. Internet bidders represented approximately
30% of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions for
the three months ended March 31, 2009, and they were the buyer or runner up
bidder on 33% of the lots offered online at these auctions. Since launching
its real-time online bidding service in 2002, the Company has now sold over
$2.6 billion worth of trucks, equipment, and other assets to online bidders.
    "Our record performance in the first quarter of 2009 confirms two things:
Ritchie Bros. is well positioned to weather the global economic downturn, and
the value of our unreserved auctions for equipment buyers and sellers is now
more compelling than ever." said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros. CEO. "We've seen
record bidder turnout at our auctions around the world this year as more
people turn to our auctions to meet their equipment needs. We've also helped
thousands of companies reach a global buying audience and achieve almost
instant liquidity and solid returns by selling their surplus assets at our
unreserved auctions."
    Mr. Blake continued: "We achieved an above-trend performance on our
at-risk business and started seeing improved operating leverage in the first
quarter, though it is too soon to comment on our annual operating leverage.
And while we are proud of our success in the first quarter of 2009, we
recognize that these are unprecedented times for many of our customers who are
facing real challenges and lots of uncertainty in the marketplace. As a
result, it continues to be demanding to forecast the impact of the current
economic crisis on our customers' equipment buying and selling decisions. We
remain focused on executing our long-term strategy around people, places and
processes, and so far, 2009 has been a busy year for us. Our sales force has
increased by 6%, we opened two new permanent auction sites, we purchased land
for new auction sites in Italy and Spain, and we launched new customer service
initiatives, including uShip and an enhanced online bidding service. We
continue to believe that our gross auction proceeds will grow in 2009 and our
company is in an excellent position to achieve the goals we set out at the
beginning of the year."
    The Company's Board of Directors also announces the declaration of a
quarterly cash dividend of $0.09 per common share payable on June 12, 2009 to
shareholders of record on May 22, 2009.
    The Company defines adjusted net earnings as financial statement net
earnings excluding the after-tax effects of excess property sales and
significant foreign exchange gains or losses resulting from financing
activities that are not expected to recur, and has provided a reconciliation
below. 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 its
net earnings for the relevant financial period and identifies the impact of
items 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 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. 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 2009 first
quarter financial results at 8:00am Pacific Time (11:00am Eastern Time) on May
5, 2009. 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; future growth opportunities and strategy; growth
and demand for our services during challenging economic times, sales force
increases; operating leverage; and auction site network expansion. 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 online bidding initiatives; economic
and other conditions in local, regional and global markets; ongoing access to
capital; our ability to attract and retain key employees, develop additional
auction sites and successfully execute our strategic initiatives; 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, 2008, 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      Three months     Three months
    (Amounts in table and related            ended March 31,  ended March 31,
     footnotes are in USD thousands,                   2009             2008
     except share and per share amounts)         (unaudited)      (unaudited)
                                             --------------------------------

    Gross auction proceeds                     $    798,291     $    781,969
                                             --------------- ----------------
                                             --------------- ----------------

    Auction revenues                           $     83,675     $     81,394
    Direct expenses                                   8,853           10,115
                                             --------------- ----------------
                                                     74,822           71,279
    Expenses
      Depreciation and amortization                   6,989            5,604
      General and administrative(1)                  39,818           42,149
                                             --------------- ----------------

    Earnings from operations                         28,015           23,526

    Other income (expense)
      Interest expense                                 (162)            (370)
      Interest income                                   619            1,285
      Foreign exchange gain(1)(2)                       697              558
      Gain (loss) on disposition of
       capital assets                                   (45)              93
      Other income                                      298              243
                                             --------------- ----------------

    Earnings before income taxes                     29,422           25,335

    Income taxes                                      9,543            8,928
                                             --------------- ----------------

    Net earnings(2)                            $     19,879     $     16,407
                                             --------------- ----------------
                                             --------------- ----------------

    Net earnings per share                     $       0.19     $       0.16
    Net earnings per share - diluted           $       0.19     $       0.16

    Weighted average shares outstanding         104,895,776      104,555,118
    Diluted weighted average shares
     outstanding                                105,679,617      105,752,985

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

    Net earnings in accordance with
     Canadian GAAP                             $     19,879     $     16,407
    Less: after-tax foreign exchange
     impact of financing transactions(2)               (664)          (1,117)
                                             --------------- ----------------
    Adjusted net earnings                      $     19,215     $     15,290
                                             --------------- ----------------
                                             --------------- ----------------

    Adjusted net earnings per share            $       0.18     $       0.15
    Adjusted net earnings per share
     - diluted                                 $       0.18     $       0.14

    (1) Figures have been reclassified to conform with presentation adopted
        at December 31, 2008.

    (2) Net earnings for the first quarter of 2009 included a foreign
        exchange gain of $759 ($664 after tax, or $0.01 per diluted share) on
        U.S. dollar denominated bank debt held by a subsidiary that has the
        Canadian dollar as its functional currency. The equivalent amount in
        the first quarter of 2008 was a foreign exchange loss of $986 ($843
        after tax, or $0.01 per diluted share). The bank debt was assigned in
        January 2009 to a U.S. dollar denominated subsidiary to eliminate
        this foreign exchange exposure. In addition, the foreign exchange
        gain recorded in the first quarter of 2008 included the
        reclassification to net earnings of foreign currency translation
        gains of $2,089 ($1,960 after tax, or $0.02 per diluted share). These
        gains were previously recorded in the cumulative translation
        adjustment account and were reclassified in the first quarter of 2008
        as a result of the settlement of a number of foreign currency
        denominated intercompany loans that had been considered long-term in
        nature. No long-term intercompany loans were settled in the first
        quarter of 2009. The Company has highlighted these amounts because it
        does not expect such foreign exchange gains or losses relating to
        financial transactions to recur in future periods.


    Selected Balance Sheet Data                    March 31,     December 31,
     (USD thousands)                                   2009             2008
                                                 (unaudited)
                                             --------------------------------

    Current assets                             $    371,294     $    193,940
    Current liabilities                             336,694          146,831
                                             --------------- ----------------
    Working capital                            $     34,600     $     47,109

    Total assets                                    893,888          689,488
    Long-term debt                                   81,135           67,411
    Total shareholders' equity                      465,259          465,162



                                               Three months     Three months
    Selected Operating Data (unaudited)      ended March 31,  ended March 31,
                                                       2009             2008
                                             --------------------------------

    Auction revenues as percentage of
     gross auction proceeds                          10.48%           10.41%
    Number of consignments at industrial
     auctions                                         6,876            7,144
    Number of bidders at industrial
     auctions                                        73,995           59,397
    Number of buyers at industrial
     auctions                                        20,818           16,307
    Number of permanent auction sites                    30               29
    Number of regional auction units                      8                9
    

    %SEDAR: 00010198E




For further information:

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


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890