Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the world’s largest auctioneer of industrial equipment, posted net earnings of $18 million or 17 cents per diluted share for the first quarter ended March 31, a 32-percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2011’s total earnings of $13.6 million.
Ritchie’s auction revenues for the first quarter increased 14 percent to $101.3 million, compared to $88.5 million for the same period in 2011. The company conducted 38 unreserved auctions in nine countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Central America and Australia in this year’s first quarter.
Gross auction proceeds were $865 million, a 2-percent increase compared with the same period a year ago. The company’s auction revenue rate — auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction proceeds — was 11.7 percent, compared to 10.4 percent a year ago.
“During the quarter, we saw strong equipment pricing at our auctions and competition remained intense for good quality, low-hour used equipment,” said Ritchie Bros. CEO Peter Blake. “This was reflected in our at-risk business, which remained above historic levels. We saw improving optimism among our customers and ongoing original equipment manufacturer backlogs have created pent-up demand for new and near-new equipment, driving strength in the used equipment market. We remain confident that our performance for 2012 is on track with our plans.
“In the first quarter we completed a key strategic initiative, our organizational realignment, and we are already seeing positive results of this.”
Ritchie Bros. also sold more than $275 million of equipment, trucks and other assets to online bidders during the first quarter of 2012, representing a 23-percent increase compared to the same period in 2011, which was about $223 million. Internet bidders comprised more than 50 percent of the total bidder registrations at Ritchie during the quarter.
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers is based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.