Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Reports 17-Percent First-half Earnings Growth

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers last week announced earnings growth of 17 percent over the first half of 2006, delivering net earnings of $44.1 million, or $1.26 per diluted weighted average share for the six months ended June 30.

Gross auction proceeds for the six months ended June 30 were $1.65 billion, 17-percent higher than the prior year's first-half gross auction proceeds and the largest first half in the company's history. Auction revenues for the first six months of 2007 were $163.9 million, representing growth of 22 percent compared to the first half of 2006.

During the first six months of 2007, Ritchie Bros. conducted 87 unreserved industrial auctions at locations throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Mexico and Asia. Nine regional gross auction proceeds records were set during the first half of 2007, including the largest auction in the company's history in February at its permanent auction site in Orlando, Fla., which achieved gross auction proceeds of more than $172 million.

The company sold in excess of 137,000 lots from more than 17,000 industrial consignments and had more than 129,000 bidder registrations at its industrial auctions during the six months ended June 30. The company's live auctions continued to be enhanced by internet bidding, and in the first half of 2007 the company sold nearly $305 million worth of trucks and equipment to on-line buyers using rbauctionBid-Live.

During the period, the company established regional auction units in Hartford, Conn., and Paris. The company also completed the purchase of land near Paris, Kansas City, Mo., and Grande Prairie, Alberta, and intends to construct new permanent auction sites at these locations.

Gross auction proceeds for the quarter ended June 30 were $945.3 million, the largest quarterly gross auction proceeds in the company's history. Auction revenues for the second quarter of 2007 were $94.5 million.

“Continued strong performances in all of our markets contributed to our earnings growth in the first half of this year, indicating to us that the momentum of our unreserved auction model remains intact,” said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros. CEO.

The company's board of directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.24 per common share payable on Sept. 14, to shareholders of record on Aug. 24, representing a 14-percent increase over the company's previous quarterly dividend.

Ritchie Bros. is an international auctioneer of industrial equipment, operating through over 110 locations in more than 25 countries around the world.

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