Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (TSX: RBA)(NYSE: RBA), the world's largest industrial auctioneer, today announced the conclusion of its 2006 auction calendar with a preliminary estimate of $2.72 billion in gross auction sales for the year, a 30% increase compared to last year's result. The Company plans to release its audited financial statements for the year on February 22, 2007. All dollar amounts are presented in United States dollars.
In 2006, Ritchie Bros. conducted 177 unreserved industrial auctions in 13 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. The Company also held 141 unreserved agricultural auctions and one unreserved real estate auction during the year. A record of more than 241,000 bidders registered for Ritchie Bros.' unreserved industrial auctions in 2006, of which approximately 74,000 were successful buyers. In 2005, the Company recorded more than 213,000 bidder registrations, of which over 62,000 were buyers.
During the past year, Ritchie Bros. worked with a record number of truck and equipment sellers, handling more than 32,000 consignments, which totaled over 240,000 lots sold in the year. In 2005, Ritchie Bros. handled over 27,000 consignments and over 203,000 lots.
The average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction for 2006 featured over 1,350 lots consigned by about 180 consignors, and attracted more than 1,360 bidders. The average gross auction sales per industrial auction for the year was more than $14 million.
The Company's rbauctionBid-Live internet bidding service also set records in 2006. The service allows qualified bidders to participate over the internet in live Ritchie Bros. unreserved auctions around the world. More than 9,660 customers from 76 countries purchased over $446 million worth of trucks, equipment, and real estate this year using rbauctionBid-Live. This is an increase of more than 57% over last year's online gross auction sales. More than 57,000 customers from 150 countries have now registered and received approval to use rbauctionBid-Live to date. Internet bidders represented on average approximately 24% of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions in 2006, and they were the buyer or runner up bidder on 24% of the lots offered online at these auctions.
A number of Ritchie Bros. permanent auction sites achieved gross auction sales records in 2006, including Orlando, Florida, which held the largest auction ever held by the Company in more than 40 years of business. On February 21-25, 2006, the Orlando auction generated gross auction sales of more than $113 million.
Ritchie Bros. also held a Canadian record-breaking auction this year. On October 26 and 27th, the Company's Edmonton unreserved auction generated gross auction sales in excess of CA$52 million.
Internationally, there were a number of auction sites that generated their own record-breaking sales in 2006, including: Sagunto, Spain; Livorno, Italy; Melbourne, Australia; and Toluca, Mexico.
In the United States, gross auction sales records were broken this year at the Company's permanent auction sites in: Orlando, FL; Minneapolis, MN; North East, MD; Atlanta, GA; Sacramento, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; and Houston, TX.
And in Canada, gross auction sales records were broken at the Company's permanent auction sites in: Edmonton, AB; Montreal, QC; Prince George, BC; and Vancouver, BC.
"It truly was a remarkable year for our company," said Peter Blake, Chief Executive Officer of Ritchie Bros. "We helped a record number of buyers and sellers to access the global market using our unreserved auctions. Our gross auction sales performance was a clear indication that our auctions continue to provide real value for our customers."
Mr. Blake added: "Tight equipment markets in 2006 made it a challenging year for us to grow, yet our record-breaking gross auction sales performance demonstrated that we have been successful with our strategies for penetrating deeper into existing markets and expanding into new markets. Our focus on new geographies and market sectors, together with our emphasis on improving the systems that support our growth, played out well in 2006."
The Ritchie Bros. 2007 auction calendar begins in Jackson, Mississippi at the end of January. There are more than 20 unreserved industrial auctions and over 50 unreserved agricultural auctions already listed on the 2007 auction calendar. Equipment listings and information about upcoming auctions are available on the Company's website, www.rbauction.com.
Gross auction sales represent the aggregate selling prices of all items sold at auction and are not presented in the Company's consolidated financial statements; the comparable financial statement measure is auction revenues, consisting primarily of commissions earned on consigned equipment and net profit on the sale of equipment purchased by Ritchie Bros. and sold in the same manner as consigned equipment.
About Ritchie Bros.
Ritchie Bros. is the world's largest auctioneer of industrial equipment, operating through over 110 locations in more than 25 countries around the world. The Company sells, through unreserved public auctions, a broad range of used and unused industrial equipment including equipment utilized in the construction, transportation, material handling, mining, forestry, petroleum, marine, real estate, and agricultural industries. The Company maintains a web site at www.rbauction.com.
Investors and potential investors should note that the information in this release may not be indicative of the overall financial performance of the Company for this or any period.