Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers results show continued strength



    VANCOUVER, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated (NYSE:  
RBA; TSX: RBA) today announced net earnings for the nine months ended
September 30, 2007 of $59.0 million, or $1.68 per diluted weighted average
share, which is a record nine-month performance for the Company and 24% ahead
of earnings for the first nine months of 2006. Net earnings growth in 2007
would have been 27%, had the results for the first nine months of 2006
excluded an after-tax gain of $1.1 million recorded on the sale of surplus
property. The Company does not consider these gains to be part of its normal
operating results. All dollar amounts are presented in United States dollars.
    Gross auction proceeds (which until recently the Company referred to as
gross auction sales) for the nine months ended September 30, 2007 were $2.31
billion, a 17% increase over the corresponding period in the prior year and
the largest first nine months in the Company's history. Auction revenues for
the first nine months of 2007 were $232.0 million, representing growth of 22%
compared to the first nine months of 2006. The Company's auction revenue rate
(auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction proceeds) was 10.03% for
the first nine months of 2007, compared to 9.60% for the same period in 2006.
    During the first nine months of 2007, Ritchie Bros. conducted 126
unreserved industrial auctions at locations throughout North America, Europe,
the Middle East, Australia, Mexico and Southeast Asia. Thirteen regional gross
auction proceeds records were set during the first nine months of 2007.
    The Company sold in excess of 197,000 lots from over 25,000 industrial
consignments and had more than 183,000 bidder registrations at its industrial
auctions during the nine months ended September 30, 2007. The Company's live
auctions continued to be enhanced by internet bidding, and in the first nine
months of 2007 the Company sold over $426 million worth of trucks and
equipment to on-line buyers using the Company's rbauctionBid-Live system. The
Company has now sold in excess of $1.5 billion of industrial and agricultural
assets over the internet.
    Although the Company's auctions have varied in size over the last 12
months, the average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction in the 12 month period
ended September 30, 2007 attracted over 1,400 bidder registrations (12 months
ended September 30, 2006 - 1,300) and featured around 1,400 lots (12 months
ended September 30, 2006 - 1,300) consigned by 193 consignors (12 months ended
September 30, 2006 - 179), generating average gross auction proceeds of
approximately $15.3 million per auction (12 months ended September 30, 2006 -
$14.1 million).
    The Company also held 160 unreserved agricultural auctions in the first
nine months of 2007, generating gross auction proceeds of $111.0 million,
compared to 127 agricultural auctions with gross auction proceeds of $116.8
million in the first nine months of 2006.
    During the period ended September 30, 2007, the Company established
regional auction units in Hartford, Connecticut and Paris, France. The Company
also completed the purchase of land near Paris, France, Kansas City, Missouri
and Grande Prairie, Alberta, and intends to construct new permanent auction
sites at these locations. Once completed, the Kansas City and Paris sites will
replace regional auction units and the Grand Prairie site will replace the
Company's existing permanent auction site in that city. Subsequent to period
end, the Company completed the purchase of land in Medford, Minnesota and
intends to construct a new permanent auction site to replace its existing site
in that region.
    Gross auction proceeds for the quarter ended September 30, 2007 were
$667.6 million, auction revenues were $68.1 million and the auction revenue
rate was 10.20%.
    Peter Blake, the Company's CEO, remarked: "We are very pleased to see the
momentum of the first part of this year continuing into the third quarter - so
far this year we have experienced strong gross auction proceeds growth in all
of our major markets. In addition, we have been able to deliver earnings
growth as we build out our infrastructure and invest in the expansion of our
business. We remain committed to growing our earnings at a sustainable pace
while maintaining our focus on delivering first class customer service. This
means that we will continue to add people, build our capacity and invest in
process improvement to ensure we can exceed our customers' expectations."
    The Company's Board of Directors today announced the declaration of a
quarterly cash dividend of $0.24 per common share payable on December 14, 2007
to shareholders of record on November 23, 2007.
    The Company's Board of Directors also announced the appointment of the
following new Executive Officers with effect from January 1, 2008: Steven
Simpson, Senior Vice-President - Western United States; Curt Hinkelman, Senior
Vice-President - Eastern United States; Kevin Tink, Senior Vice-President -
Canada and Agriculture; Victor Pospiech, Senior Vice-President -
Administration and Human Resources; and Jeremy Black, Corporate Secretary. All
of these individuals have been promoted from within the Company.
    Effective January 1, 2008, in addition to the above individuals, our
other Executive Officers will be: Peter Blake, Chief Executive Officer; Robert
Mackay, President; Robert Armstrong, Chief Financial Officer and Chief
Operating Officer; Robert Whitsit, Senior Vice-President; David Nicholson,
Senior Vice-President - Central United States, Mexico and South America; and
Guylain Turgeon, Senior Vice-President - Managing Director Europe and Middle
East.
    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.

    Ritchie Bros. is the world's largest auctioneer of industrial equipment,
operating through over 110 locations in more than 25 countries around the
world. The Company sells, through unreserved public auctions, a broad range of
used and unused industrial assets, including trucks, equipment and other
assets used in the construction, transportation, mining, forestry, petroleum,
materials handling, marine, agricultural and real estate industries. Ritchie
Bros. maintains a website at www.rbauction.com.

    Earnings Conference Call

    Ritchie Bros. is hosting a conference call to discuss its financial
results for the first nine months of 2007 at 8:00am Pacific Time (11:00am
Eastern Time) on October 30, 2007. 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 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; the Company's ability to grow its earnings at a
sustainable pace, build its team that will help it achieve its growth
objectives, add the capacity to handle its growth, and develop and improve the
systems and processes it uses to conduct its business; and the Company's
proposed construction of new auction sites in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Kansas
City, Missouri, Paris, France and Medford, Minnesota. 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 M07 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, 2006, 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 Earnings    Nine months   Nine months
    (USD thousands, except share and             ended         ended
     per share amounts)                   September 30, September 30,
                                                  2007          2006
                                          ---------------------------
                                            (unaudited)   (unaudited)

    Gross auction proceeds                $  2,313,177  $  1,982,292
                                          ------------- -------------
                                          ------------- -------------

    Auction revenues                      $    231,965  $    190,341
    Direct expenses                             29,014        25,896
                                          ------------- -------------
                                               202,951       164,445
    Expenses:
      Depreciation and amortization             13,901        10,651
      General and administrative                99,991        81,566
                                          ------------- -------------

    Earnings from operations                    89,059        72,228
    Other income (expense):
      Interest expense                            (898)       (1,003)
      Gain on disposition of capital assets        214         1,463
      Other income                               1,048           626
                                          ------------- -------------

    Earnings before income taxes                89,423        73,314

    Income taxes                                30,406        25,886
                                          ------------- -------------

    Net earnings                          $     59,017  $     47,428
                                          ------------- -------------
                                          ------------- -------------

    Net earnings per share(1)             $       1.70  $       1.37
    Net earnings per share - diluted(1)   $       1.68  $       1.36

    Weighted average shares outstanding
     - diluted                              35,047,905    34,854,403

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

    Net earnings in accordance with GAAP  $     59,017  $     47,428
    Less: after-tax gain on sale of
     excess property(1)                              -        (1,087)
                                          ------------- -------------
    Adjusted net earnings                 $     59,017  $     46,341
                                          ------------- -------------
                                          ------------- -------------

    Adjusted net earnings per share       $       1.70  $       1.34
    Adjusted net earnings per share
     - diluted                            $       1.68  $       1.33

    (1) Net earnings for the nine months ended September 30, 2006
        included total gains of $1,812 ($1,087 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.



    Consolidated Statements of Earnings   Three months  Three months
    (USD thousands, except share and             ended         ended
     per share amounts)                   September 30, September 30,
                                                  2007          2006
                                          ---------------------------
                                            (unaudited)   (unaudited)

    Gross auction proceeds                $    667,553  $    580,271
                                          ------------- -------------
                                          ------------- -------------

    Auction revenues                      $     68,060  $     55,688
    Direct expenses                              9,005         8,105
                                          ------------- -------------
                                                59,055        47,583
    Expenses:
      Depreciation and amortization              4,893         4,337
      General and administrative                34,929        28,862
                                          ------------- -------------

    Earnings from operations                    19,233        14,384
    Other income (expense):
      Interest expense                            (192)         (283)
      Gain (loss) on disposition of
       capital assets                               58          (454)
      Other income                                 128           155
                                          ------------- -------------

    Earnings before income taxes                19,227        13,802

    Income taxes                                 4,324         4,098
                                          ------------- -------------

    Net earnings                          $     14,903  $      9,704
                                          ------------- -------------
                                          ------------- -------------

    Net earnings per share                $       0.43  $       0.28
    Net earnings per share - diluted      $       0.42  $       0.28

    Weighted average shares outstanding
     - diluted                              35,136,642    34,933,544



    Selected Balance Sheet Data           September 30,  December 31,
    (USD thousands)                               2007          2006
                                            (unaudited)
                                          ---------------------------

    Current assets                        $    429,280  $    228,067
    Current liabilities                        332,458       133,698
                                          ------------- -------------
    Working capital                       $     96,822  $     94,369

    Total assets                               814,841       554,227
    Long-term debt                              44,851        43,081
    Total shareholders' equity                 424,328       368,637



    Selected Operating Data (unaudited)    Nine months   Nine months
                                                 ended         ended
                                          September 30, September 30,
                                                  2007          2006
                                            (unaudited)   (unaudited)
                                          ---------------------------

    Auction revenues as percentage of
     gross auction proceeds                     10.03%         9.60%
    Number of consignors at industrial
     auctions                                   25,068        23,184
    Number of bidders at industrial
     auctions                                  183,661       170,537
    Number of buyers at industrial
     auctions                                   58,580        52,780
    Number of permanent auction sites               27            26
    Number of regional auction units                10             7
    

    %SEDAR: 00010198E




For further information:

For further information: Jeremy Black, Director of Finance, Phone: (604)
273-7564, Fax: (604) 273-2405, Email: ir@rbauction.com


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