During the final quarter of 2013 Ritchie Bros Auctioneers achieved gross auction proceeds of $1.1 billion, a record for the fourth quarter and an increase of 10% compared to the same quarter of 2012.
In 2013 the company sold about $3.8 billion of equipment at 356 unreserved auctions around the world, which represents a 3% decrease in gross auction proceeds (GAP) compared to the record GAP it generated in 2012.
Ritchie Bros conducted its final unreserved auctions of 2013 on December 19 in Chehalis, Washington, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and, St Louis, Missouri.
The company’s CEO Peter Blake says, “We achieved some notable milestones during 2013. In Canada, our most established market, we continued to grow and again surpassed gross auction proceeds of over $1 billion. We also held our first auctions in China and Finland, and reached a new record for online bidders and buyers. In fact, our online bidders purchased more than $1.4 billion of equipment in 2013, or about 37% of our total sales.
“We’re pleased that our customers are finding convenience through our online bidding option, and comfort in the ability to test and inspect the equipment being sold in our yards before each auction. More than 43,000 consigners trusted us to sell their equipment at our industrial auctions during the year and more than 425,000 potential buyers registered to bid on items.
“It was an important year for our business. We had a focused strategy to grow our sales force and improve the performance of our underwritten (or ‘at risk’) business. On both counts, we have made great progress. During 2013 we grew our sales force to the largest it has ever been, and we continued to invest in new technology tools for our sales team that will provide better insight into our customer base, enhance our service levels and improve sales productivity.
“As well, the much improved performance of our underwritten business allowed us to achieve record quarterly auction revenue rates during 2013. We also successfully launched EquipmentOne.com, a new online non-auction service offering that has allowed us to reach new customers and broaden the solutions we offer equipment owners.
“Having made important investments in our auction platform over the last several years, our worldwide network of 44 sites is now extremely well equipped to handle expanding auction volumes. Our focus going forward is on driving growth in gross auction proceeds to deliver the earnings leverage that exists in our model.”
During 2013 Ritchie Bros opened three new auction sites. On March 19 the company opened a new permanent auction site in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, becoming the second permanent auction site in Australia and complementing the existing site in Brisbane. On April 18 it opened a regional auction site in Beijing, China - its first auction site in China. On October 11 the company opened a regional auction site in Manchester (Hooksett), New Hampshire, US. This site was opened to replace the company's prior site in Hartford, Connecticut, as the Manchester location is more accessible and convenient for customers.
Ritchie Bros held its first ever unreserved auction in China on April 18, 2013 and its second unreserved auction there on November 21. The auctions in China are the culmination of many years working with Chinese authorities and equipment owners to establish a convenient and transparent channel for used equipment transactions in China, and the export of equipment from China through the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone.
Established in 1958, Ritchie Bros is the world’s largest seller of used equipment for the construction, transportation, agriculture, material handling, energy, mining, forestry, marine and other industries. It has operations in more than 25 countries, including 44 auction sites worldwide.