Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers last week announced that it achieved net earnings of $76 million, or $2.17 per diluted weighted average share, for the year ended Dec. 31, representing growth of 33 percent over 2006 net earnings of $57.2 million, or $1.64 per diluted weighted average share. All dollar amounts are presented in United States dollars.
The company achieved gross auction proceeds of $3.19 billion for 2007, 17-percent higher than gross auction proceeds in 2006 and an all-time record for the company. Record auction revenues of $315.2 million for 2007 were 21-percent higher than in 2006. The company's auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction proceeds) was 9.89 percent in 2007, compared to 9.59 percent in 2006. Net earnings in 2007 increased more than 2006 primarily as a result of higher gross auction proceeds and a stronger auction revenue rate.
Ritchie Bros. conducted 183 industrial auctions in 13 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia in 2007. The company set 19 regional gross auction proceeds records during the year, including the largest auction held in the company's history in February 2007 at its permanent auction site in Orlando, Fla., with gross auction proceeds of $172 million.
The company had a record of more than 254,000 bidder registrations at its unreserved industrial auctions in 2007, of which approximately 80,000 were successful buyers. In 2006, the company had more than 241,000 bidder registrations, of which approximately 74,000 were buyers.
Ritchie Bros. worked with a record number of truck, equipment and other asset sellers in 2007, selling approximately 265,000 lots on behalf of almost 35,000 consignors. In 2006, Ritchie Bros. sold approximately 240,000 lots for more than 32,000 consignors.
The company's rbauctionBid-Live Internet bidding service also set records in 2007, with more than $600 million worth of trucks, equipment, and real estate being sold to nearly 13,000 customers from 79 countries in 2007. This is an increase of more than 35 percent over last year's online gross auction proceeds. More than 77,000 customers from 170 countries have now registered and received approval to use rbauctionBid-Live. Internet bidders represented approximately 27 percent of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions in 2007, and they were the buyer or runner up bidder on 28 percent of the lots offered online at these auctions. The company has now sold in excess of $1.5 billion of industrial and agricultural assets over the Internet.
“We are expanding successfully all over the world, and yet, despite all the success we enjoyed in 2007 and our growth in recent years, we still think we are just scratching the surface,” said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros. CEO. “We believe we have big growth opportunities in front of us. As a result, we are continuing to take steps to position our business for sustainable long-term growth by hiring more great people, expanding our international network of auction sites and investing in process improvement initiatives.”
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, gross auction proceeds were $873.3 million and auction revenues were $83.3 million. The auction revenue rate was 9.53 percent. Net earnings for the quarter were $17.0 million, or $0.48 per diluted weighted average share, compared to $9.8 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, in 2006.
The company also announced that its board of directors has approved a three-for-one stock split for its common shares, subject to the approval of the company's shareholders at the annual and special meeting of shareholders, scheduled for April 11.
Established in 1958 and headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Ritchie Bros. is the world's largest auctioneer of industrial equipment, operating through more than 110 locations in 27 countries around the world.