Ritchie Bros. sees increased auction earnings, big boosts online in 2012

Updated Feb 27, 2013

A Ritchie Bros. auction

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers announced today that it brought in net earnings of $82.6 million in 2012, a 12 percent increase from adjusted earnings in 2011.

The company notes that without its purchase of AssetNation, which it used to build its new EquipmentOne equipment sales website, net earnings would have been an improvement of 17 percent. The company launched EquipmentOne in late January.

The company’s auction revenues grew 11 percent in 2012 to $438 million. Fourth quarter adjusted net earnings in 2012 fell 16 percent from the same period in 2011to$22.4 million.

Ritchie Bros. saw record-breaking gross auction proceeds in 2012, climbing 5 percent to $3.9 billion. That mark is despite a 4-percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2012 from the same period in 2011. Gross auction proveeds for the fourth quarter were $1 billion.

However, Ritchie Bros. CEO Peter Blake was a bit disappointed, calling 2012 “another volatile year” for used equipment. In a prepared statement, he said the company could have done even better.

“We felt 2012, even with adjusted net earnings growth of 17 percent excluding costs associated with AssetNation, was not an optimal year,” Blake said. “If we had executed we would have had an even stronger year. This has focused us on executing specific strategies in 2013.”

Online continues to be a growing front for Ritchie Bros. The company’s website, rbauction.com, attracted 5.6 million unique visitors in 2012. That’s a 40 percent increase over 2011.

And that traffic is paying off. The company sold more than $1.3 billion worth of equipment, trucks and other assets online in 2012. That’s an 18 percent increase from 2011 and, according to Ritchie Bros. “more than any other auction company in the world.” Internet bidders made up more than 60 percent of the total bidder registrations at Ritchie Bros. industrial auctions in 2012.

The company appears optimistic about 2013. Recently, Ritchie Bros. President Bob Mackay told Equipment World that he expects a full turnaround for the construction industry.