Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers recently announced net earnings for the six months ended June 30, 2006 reached $37.7 million, or $1.08 per diluted weighted average share, compared to $34.8 million, or $1.00 per diluted share, in 2005. Adjusted net earnings for the first half of 2006 were 19-perent higher than the comparable amount in the first half of 2005. All dollar amounts are presented in United States dollars.
Gross auction sales for the six months ended June 30, 2006 were a record $1.40 billion, which is a 23-percent increase over the first half of 2005, making this the largest ever first half gross auction sales in the company’s history. Auction revenues for the first six months of 2006 were $134.7 million, an increase of 18 percent compared to the prior year’s first half. The company’s auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction sales) was 9.60 percent for the first six months of 2006, compared to 10.03 percent in the equivalent period in 2005.
During the six month period ended June 30, 2006, Ritchie Bros. held 85 unreserved industrial auctions at locations throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Asia and Mexico and broke nine regional gross auction sales records, including the largest auction held in the company’s history in February in Orlando, Fla., which posted gross auction sales of more than $113 million.
The company sold in excess of 116,000 lots from more than 15,000 industrial consignments and had more than 118,000 bidder registrations at its industrial auctions during the six-month period ended June 30, 2006. Internet bidding continued to enhance the company’s live auctions, and in the first half of 2006 the company sold nearly $222 million worth of trucks and equipment to on-line buyers using its rbauctionBid-Live system. Internet bidders were buyer or runner-up bidder on more than 20 percent of the lots available for online bidding during the period. The company’s rbauctionBid-Live system now has more than 50,000 approved users.
Gross auction sales for the quarter ended June 30, 2006 were $830.5 million, the largest quarterly gross auction sales in the company’s history. Auction revenues for the second quarter of 2006 were $78.7 million and the auction revenue rate was 9.47 percent.
“I am very pleased with our results to date in 2006 – we have been successful growing both our sales and our earnings in a tight equipment market, which is a clear indication that our strategy is working,” said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros.’ CEO. “Strong economies in most of our markets have meant that we have continued to be faced with challenges securing equipment to sell at our auctions. However, we have still been able to grow our gross auction sales, mainly because an increasing number of buyers and sellers are choosing to participate in our unreserved auctions.”
The company’s board of directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend of 21 cents per common share payable on Sept. 15, 2006, to shareholders of record on Aug. 25, 2006. This is an increase of 17 percent compared to the previous quarterly dividend of 18 cents per share.
The board also announced the appointment of a new independent director, Edward Pitoniak, effective July 28, 2006. Pitoniak is currently president and CEO of Canadian Hotel Income Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. He has also been appointed to the audit committee of the company’s board.
Ritchie Bros. is an international auctioneer of industrial equipment, operating through more than 110 locations in 25 countries around the world. The company sells, through unreserved public auctions, a broad range of used and unused industrial equipment including trucks and equipment used in the construction, transportation, mining, forestry, petroleum, materials handling, marine and agricultural industries.