Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bidders push Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers to Q1 profit of $19.9M US

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. reported Tuesday that first-quarter profit rose 21 per cent to $19.9 million US as bidder turnout at its sales hit a record high.

Earnings amounted to 19 cents a share, compared with $16.4 million or 16 cents a share for the same period a year ago. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

Gross auction proceeds — the total money generated at auctions conducted by the company — rose to $798.3 million from $782 million.

The company's revenue from providing auction services was $83.7 million, up from $81.4 million.

Ritchie Bros. said it conducted 32 industrial auctions in nine countries during the quarter, drawing almost 74,000 bidder registrations, up from about 60,000 registrations in the same period last year.

"We've seen record bidder turnout at our auctions around the world this year as more people turn to our auctions to meet their equipment needs," CEO Peter Blake said in a release.

"Our record performance in the first quarter of 2009 confirms two things: Ritchie Bros. is well positioned to weather the global economic downturn, and the value of our unreserved auctions for equipment buyers and sellers is now more compelling than ever," Blake said.

The international auctioneer declared a cash dividend of nine cents per common share payable on June 12.

Shares of Ritchie Bros. closed up 60 cents to $28.62 on the TSX.