Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers last week announced net earnings for the six months ended June 30, of $58.7 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, a 6-percent decrease from $62.3 million, or $0.59 per diluted share in the same period of 2008. Adjusted net earnings of $58.1 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net earnings of $53.2 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, for the first half of 2008.
During the first half of 2009, the company conducted 92 industrial auctions in 10 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia, and set seven regional gross auction proceeds records. Ritchie Bros. also opened three auction facilities in the first half of 2009 as it continued its global auction site expansion program.
“Our commitment to executing our long-term growth strategy resulted in another strong billion-dollar quarter for Ritchie Bros.,” said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros.’ CEO. “We’ve achieved record year-to-date auction revenues and reduced general and administrative expenses, resulting in a 12-percent increase in earnings from operations for the first six months of the year. These results are a testament to the hard work and commitment of our employees worldwide, as well as the strength of our business model, which emphasizes long-term stable growth and expansion, wise use of company resources and the importance of delivering value and exceptional service to buyers and sellers of equipment.”
The company’s board of directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per common share payable on Sept. 11, to shareholders of record on Aug. 21, 2009, representing an 11-percent increase over the company’s previous quarterly dividend.
Gross auction proceeds for the six months ended June 30, were $1.91 billion, 2-percent lower than the first half of 2008. Auction revenues were $204.1 million for the six months ended June 30, a 4-percent increase compared to the first half of 2008. Gross auction proceeds and auction revenues in local currency, being mainly the U.S., Canadian and Australian dollar and the Euro, increased 6 and 14 percent, respectively, compared to the first half of 2008. The company’s auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction proceeds) was 10.7 percent in the first half of 2009, compared to 10.1 percent in the first half of 2008.
The company achieved gross auction proceeds of $1.11 billion in the second quarter of 2009, representing a 5-percent decrease compared to the second quarter of 2008. Auction revenues were $120.5 million for the three months ended June 30, compared to $115.8 million for the second quarter of 2008, an increase of 4 percent. The company’s auction revenue rate was 10.86 percent for the second quarter of 2009, higher than the auction revenue rate of 9.95 percent in the second quarter of 2008 mainly due to the superior performance of its underwritten business.
The company had more than 177,000 bidder registrations at its unreserved industrial auctions in the first half of 2009, of which almost 51,000 were successful buyers. In the first half of 2008, the company had almost 140,000 bidder registrations, of which more than 41,000 were buyers.
Ritchie Bros. worked with a large number of truck, equipment and other asset sellers in the first half of 2009, selling more than148,000 lots on behalf of more than 18,000 consignors. In the first half of 2008, Ritchie Bros. sold close to 123,000 lots for more than18,000 consignors.
“We’ve seen two noticeable worldwide trends recently: there’s more used equipment coming to market and more people are turning to our fair, transparent unreserved public auctions to meet their equipment needs,” Blake said. “We’re selling more lots, attracting more bidders and continuing to conduct record-breaking auctions in what many people would describe as a challenging market. Buyers and sellers of used equipment are turning to Ritchie Bros. in increasing numbers, and the investments we’ve made in developing our sales force and expanding our global network of auction sites have enabled us to handle and benefit from that growth. We‘re pleased with our progress and believe we are on track to meet our goals for 2009.”
The company’s auctions varied in size over the 12 months ended June 30, but the average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction attracted almost 1,700 bidders who competed for more than 1,400 lots consigned by 185 consignors. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2008, the average industrial auction attracted more than 1,400 bidders, who competed for more than 1,400 lots consigned by 193 consigners. The average gross auction proceeds per industrial auction for the 12 months ended June 30, was approximately $17.6 million compared to $17.8 million for the 12 months ended June 30, 2008.
Ritchie Bros. sold nearly $425 million of trucks, equipment, and other assets to online bidders during the first half of 2009, representing a 15-percent increase from $370 million in the first half of 2008. More than 115,000 customers from almost 190 countries have now registered and received approval to bid online at Ritchie Bros. auctions. Internet bidders represented approximately 30 percent of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions for the six month period ended June 30, and they were the buyer or runner up bidder on 34 percent of the lots offered online at these auctions, compared to 29 percent in the first half of 2008.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers is an international industrial auctioneer. The company has more than110 locations in more than 25 countries, including 39 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.