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Economic uncertainty fuels used equipment auction market

Vancouver, BC -- Mar. 7, 2002 -- Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. had its largest gross auction sales ever in the yea...


Vancouver, BC — Mar. 7, 2002 — Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. had its largest gross auction sales ever in the year ended Dec. 31, 2001. Sales of $1.29 billion represented a 5% increase over the company’s 2000 sales.

“In 2001 we continued to see the benefits of the aggressive expansion program we have been working on in recent years,” said David E. Ritchie, chairman and CEO of the company. . Since the end of 1997, our capital assets have grown from $27 million to $168 million and we have increased the size of our sales force by over 70%.

During 2001, the Company opened a permanent auction site in Northeast, MD, as well as several new sales offices. The company now has over 90 offices, including 26 auction sites, in 21 countries around the world.

Russell Cmolik, president and COO of the company added: “We operate in a large fragmented market and we believe we are well positioned for future growth. We are currently constructing new auction facilities in the US in Orlando, FL, and in Canada in Edmonton, AB and Prince George, BC; and (recently conducted) our first auction at our new Phoenix, AZ facility.

“These new facilities, together with the ones we have added to our network in recent years, are a critical part of our plan to provide the best possible service to buyers and sellers of trucks and equipment.”

To further enhance customer service, the company is launching rbauctionBid-Live, which enables qualified bidders to participate in selected auctions live and in real-time over the Internet.

“Economic uncertainty fuels the supply of used equipment,” said Ritchie. “So do fleet realignments, financial pressure, mergers and acquisitions, inventory reductions, lease returns, project completions and even retirements. As long as a few of these factors are at work, Ritchie Bros. has customers to call on.

“Many of these factors also create an environment in which equipment buyers opt for high quality used equipment rather than more expensive new equipment. This is particularly true during economic downturns as contractors still have work to do but they are reluctant to commit capital to new equipment. I believe this is why used equipment prices have been relatively stable over the past year.”

Ritchie Bros. maintains a website at www.rbauction.com.

By Bill Roebuck, Editor