Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers reports strong results through the third quarter of 2009

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated (NYSE and TSX: RBA) announces net earnings for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 of $71.6 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, and adjusted net earnings of $71.0 million, or $0.67 per diluted share. This represents adjusted earnings per share growth of over 7% compared to adjusted net earnings of $66.3 million, or $0.63 per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2008. Adjusted net earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure and is defined below. Financial statement net earnings for the first nine months of 2008 were $74.3 million, or $0.70 per diluted share. The Company conducted 138 industrial auctions in 12 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Central America, Asia and Australia during the first nine months of 2009, and set eight regional gross auction proceeds records. During the quarter, the Company held its first ever auction in India and held its first auction in Panama since 1999. All dollar amounts in this release are presented in United States dollars.

Quarterly dividend
The Company is also announcing the declaration of another quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per common share payable on December 11, 2009 to shareholders of record on November 20, 2009.

Gross auction proceeds and auction revenues
Gross auction proceeds for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 were $2.60 billion, 4% lower than the first nine months of 2008. Auction revenues were $280.1 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, a 3% increase compared to the first nine months of 2008. Gross auction proceeds and auction revenues in local currency, primarily the US, Canadian and Australian dollar and the Euro, increased 3% and 11%, respectively, in the first nine months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. The Company’s auction revenue rate (auction revenues as a percentage of gross auction proceeds) was 10.77% in the first nine months of 2009, compared to 10.07% in the first nine months of 2008, mainly due to the superior performance of its underwritten business.

The Company achieved gross auction proceeds of $693.3 million in the third quarter of 2009, a 10% decrease compared to $767.7 million in the third quarter of 2008. The growth in the Company’s gross auction proceeds in Canada was more than offset by a decline in gross auction proceeds in the United States. Auction revenues were $75.9 million for the three months ended September 30, 2009, compared to $75.9 million for the thirdquarter of 2008. The Company’s auction revenue rate was 10.95% for the third quarter of 2009, higher than the auction revenue rate of 9.89% in the third quarter of 2008 mainly due to the superior performance of its underwritten business and the mix of equipment sold.

Net earnings
Net earnings for the three months ended September 30, 2009 were $12.9 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the three months ended September 30, 2008 of $11.9 million, or $0.11 per diluted share. Adjusted net earnings for the three months ended September 30, 2009 were $12.9 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net earnings of $13.0 million, or $0.12 per diluted share for the three months ended September 30, 2008.

Numbers of bidders, buyers and sellers
The Company had almost 247,000 bidder registrations at its unreserved industrial auctions in the first nine months of 2009, of which almost 72,000 were successful buyers. In the first nine months of 2008, the Company had almost 198,000 bidder registrations, of which almost 60,000 were buyers.

Ritchie Bros. worked with a large number of truck, equipment and other asset sellers in the first nine months of 2009, selling close to 209,000 lots on behalf of over 27,000 consignors. In the first nine months of 2008, Ritchie Bros. sold close to 178,000 lots for over 27,000 consignors.

Average Ritchie Bros. auction
The Company’s auctions varied in size over the 12 months ended September 30, 2009, but the average Ritchie Bros. industrial auction attracted over 1,600 bidders who competed for over 1,400 lots consigned by 185 consignors. For the 12 months ended September 30, 2008, the average industrial auction attracted over 1,400 bidders, who competed for almost 1,300 lots consigned by 191 consigners. The average gross auction proceeds per industrial auction for the 12 months ended September 30, 2009 was approximately $16.9 million (12 months ended September 30, 2008 – $18.1 million).

Online bidding statistics
Ritchie Bros. sold over $600 million of trucks, equipment, and other assets to online bidders during the first nine months of 2009, representing a 20% increase compared to the first nine months of 2008 (first nine months of 2008 – over $500 million). Almost 123,000 unique customers from over 180 countries have now registered and received approval to bid online at Ritchie Bros. auctions (September 30, 2008 – more than 93,000 customers from almost 180 countries). Internet bidders represented approximately 30% of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions for the nine month period ended September 30, 2009, and they were the buyer or runner up bidder on 35% of the lots offered online at these auctions (first nine months of 2008 – 29%). Since launching its real-time online bidding service in 2002, the Company has now sold almost $3.1 billion worth of trucks, equipment, and other assets to online bidders (September 30, 2008 – $2.3 billion) confirming Ritchie Bros.’ position as the largest seller in the world of used equipment and trucks to online buyers.

Summary comments
“We are very pleased with our sustained earnings per share growth in 2009, as we continue to demonstrate success executing our strategy in the face of challenging market conditions in some of our markets. The ongoing uncertainty in the market has been impacting our customers’ decision making, particularly in the United States” said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros.’ CEO. “In some regions, a significant number of used equipment owners continue to delay the sale of their surplus assets in anticipation of a rebound in the economy or more certainty about the future, which has affected our gross auction proceeds growth in 2009. In addition, the mix of equipment we have sold in 2009 included more lower value lots compared to 2008, impacting our average GAP per lot and positively impacting our commission rate.”

“Our business model and long term growth strategy remain intact in spite of the challenging market conditions,” continued Mr. Blake. “We’re attracting record numbers of bidders and introducing many firsttime buyers and sellers to our unreserved public auctions in established and frontier markets around the world, mainly because we deliver value. Our first ever auction in India and first auction in Central America since 1999 were both resounding successes, and we’re looking forward to conducting our second auction in Poland and first ever auction in Turkey later this year. This has been a challenging year for many people. We can’t fix the economy, but we can continue to give our customers the certainty of a fair, transparent and efficient means of buying and selling used equipment.”

The Company defines adjusted net earnings as financial statement net earnings excluding the after-tax effects of excess property sales and significant foreign exchange gains or losses resulting from financing activities that are not expected to recur, and has provided a reconciliation below. Adjusted net earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure that does not have a standardized meaning, and is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. The Company believes that comparing adjusted net earnings as defined above for different financial periods provides more useful information about the growth or decline of its net earnings for the relevant financial period and identifies the impact of items which the Company does not consider to be part of its normal operating results.

Gross auction proceeds represent the total proceeds from all items sold at Ritchie Bros. auctions. The Company’s definition of gross auction proceeds may differ from those used by other participants in its industry. Gross auction proceeds is an important measure the Company uses in comparing and assessing its operating performance. It is not a measure of the Company’s financial performance, liquidity or revenue and is not presented in its consolidated financial statements. The Company believes that auction revenues, which is the most directly comparable measure in its Statements of Operations, and certain other line items, are best understood by considering their relationship to gross auction proceeds. Auction revenues represent the revenues earned by Ritchie Bros. in the course of conducting its auctions, and consist primarily of commissions earned on consigned equipment and net profit on the sale of equipment purchased by the Company and sold in the same manner as consigned equipment.

About Ritchie Bros.
Established in 1958, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYSE and TSX: RBA) is the world’s largest industrial auctioneer, selling more equipment to on site and online bidders than any other company in the world. The Company has over 110 locations in more than 25 countries, including 39 auction sites worldwide. Ritchie Bros. sells, through unreserved public auctions, a broad range of used and unused industrial assets, including equipment, trucks and other assets utilized in the construction, transportation, agricultural, material handling, mining, forestry, petroleum and marine industries. The Company maintains a web site at www.rbauction.com and sponsors an equipment wiki at www.RitchieWiki.com.

Earnings Conference Call
Ritchie Bros. is hosting a conference call to discuss its financial results for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 at 8:00am Pacific Time (11:00am Eastern Time) on November 3, 2009. To access a live broadcast of the conference call, please go to the Ritchie Bros. website www.rbauction.com, click on 'About Ritchie Bros.’ then click on 'Investor Information'. Please go to the website at least fifteen minutes early to download and install any necessary audio software. A replay will be available on the website shortly after the call.

Forward-looking Statements
The discussion in this press release relating to future events or operating periods contains forwardlooking statements (as defined in Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) that involve risks and uncertainties, including, in particular, statements regarding anticipated results for future periods; growth and demand for our services during challenging economic times; and our business model and growth strategy. These risks and uncertainties include: the numerous factors that influence the supply of and demand for used equipment; fluctuations in the market values of used equipment; seasonal and periodic variations in operating results; actions of competitors; the success of the Company’s online bidding initiatives; economic and other conditions in local, regional and global markets; ongoing access to capital; our ability to attract and retain key employees, develop additional auction sites and successfully execute our strategic initiatives; and other risks and uncertainties as detailed from time to time in the Company’s SEC and Canadian securities filings, including the Company’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for the year ended December 31, 2008 and for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, available on the SEC, SEDAR and Company’s websites. Actual results may differ materially from those forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update the information contained herein, which speaks only as of this date….more at rbauction.com