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Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers
Type Public (NYSE:RBA) & TSXRBA
Founded Kelowna, British Columbia
Headquarters Vancouver, British Columbia
Key people David Edward Ritchie, Founder
Robert W. Murdoch, Chairman
Peter J. Blake, CEO
Industry Auctions & Industrial
Products Industrial products distribution
Employees 1,000+
Website www.rbauction.com

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers is an industrial auctioneer. The company has 110 locations in 25 countries and 39 auction sites worldwide. The company 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.

Ritchie Bros. is a public company. Its common shares are traded on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol RBA.[1]

History Edit

The Ritchie Brothers Edit

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers was established in Kelowna, B.C., Canada. The three Ritchie brothers – Ken, John and Dave Ritchie – took over the OK Used Furniture Store from their father in 1955. They entered the auction business in 1958 when they needed CA$2,000 to pay a bank debt on short notice. A friend suggested they conduct an auction to get rid of some surplus inventory from the furniture store. They conducted their first auction at the Scout Hall in Kelowna in 1958 and discovered a new way of doing business.[2]

Starting with that first auction at the Scout Hall, Ritchie Bros. maintained a strict policy of conducting unreserved auctions – meaning there were no minimum bids and no reserve prices. The brothers also established a policy of not allowing bid-ins or buybacks by the sellers.[3]

The brothers began conducting auctions more regularly and in 1958 incorporated Ritchie Bros. Auction Galleries Ltd. to formalize their new business.[4] Ritchie Bros. began selling used equipment in the 1960s. In 1963 Dave Ritchie moved to Vancouver, B.C. and rented an auction site on S.E. Marine Drive. He set up the company's first equipment auction in Vancouver shortly after.[5]

The Ritchie brothers conducted their first major unreserved industrial auction in Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia on June 7, 1963. They sold CA$663,000 of equipment in one day – by far the largest auction in the company's history.[6]

The success of the Radium Hot Springs auction convinced the brothers that they could make more money auctioning used equipment than selling furniture, so they sold their furniture store in Kelowna and went into the auction business full-time.[7]

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers established one of the trademarks of its auctions at the Radium Hot Springs auction. It was raining on the day of the auction. Instead of making the bidders walk around in the rain during the auction, they set up the auction under the eaves of a nearby shop and drove the equipment in to be sold piece by piece. The crowd stayed dry and the ramp-and-stage method became a fixture at Ritchie Bros. auctions thereafter.[8]

The early auction years Edit

Most of the company's earliest auctions were held in British Columbia. Ritchie Bros. began expanding into other parts of Canada in the mid-1960s, conducting its first auctions in Alberta (in 1964), the Yukon (1964), Saskatchewan (1965), Manitoba (1968), and other parts of Eastern Canada shortly thereafter.[9]

In 1965, Ken Ritchie left the company to spend more time with his family and the company’s name was changed from Ritchie Bros. Auction Galleries Ltd. to Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Ltd.[10] Ken established his own auction company, but returned to work with his brothers in 1968. He stayed with Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers until 1980.[11]

In 1968, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers held its first auction with gross proceeds in excess of CA$1 million, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.[12] Edmonton was also the site of the company’s first permanent auction site (on company-owned land), which was established in 1976. Until then, Ritchie Bros. had been conducting its auctions on leased land.[13]

Expansion in the U.S. Edit

Ritchie Bros. established its first presence outside Canada in 1969 when it became incorporated in Washington, USA.[14] The company held its first auction outside Canada in 1970, in Beaverton, Oregon, and gradually began expanding throughout the United States.[13]

In 1974, John Ritchie left the company, selling his share of the business to his brother Dave. In 1975, Dave Ritchie – the sole company shareholder – decided to sell partnerships in Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers to some of his key employees: Dick Bartel, C. Russell (“Russ”) Cmolik, Ken Ritchie, and Bill Gronberg.[15] Over the coming years, the partnership expanded to include Bob Carswell, Marvin Chantler, Ed Banser, Roger Rummel, Bob Brawley, Ken Asbury, John Wild, Marty Pope, Mark Clarke, Don Chalmers, Sylvain Touchette, Frank McFadden, and Mike Ritchie.[16] When Ritchie Bros. went public in 1998, Ken Ritchie and Bill Gronberg no longer owned shares in the company.

By 1985, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers had sold more than US$1 billion of equipment through unreserved auctions. It took only three more years for the company to gross another US$1 billion in sales.[13]

International expansion Edit

In the late 1980s Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers began to look overseas for further growth opportunities. The company conducted its first auctions outside North America in 1987, in Liverpool, the U.K., and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The equipment sold at the Liverpool auction had been used to rebuild the Falklands Islands following the war there.[17] Further international expansion followed with the company's first auctions in Australia (1990), Mexico (1995), the Middle East (1997), and Africa (2003).[13]

In 1991, the company achieved another milestone when it conducted its 1,000th unreserved auction. It conducted its 2,000th auction in the year 2000.[13]

The role of technology Edit

In 1989, Ritchie Bros. became the first industrial auction company to enable remote bidding via video when it broadcast its Edmonton auction live at the Agricom trade show in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Video simulcasts were held at trade shows in 1993 and 1995, followed in 1997 by a three-way videoconferenced auction that linked separate auction sites in St. Paul, Minnesota; Kansas City, Missouri; and Clinton, Wisconsin. Equipment was located at all three sites, and interested buyers could bid at any of the sites, which were linked via video.[18]

The company launched its website, rbauction.com, at the ConExpo trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA in 1996. The site featured a searchable database that enabled customers to see all of the equipment being sold in upcoming Ritchie Bros. auctions.[19]

In March 1999, Ritchie Bros. broadcast an auction over the Internet for the first time.[20] In March 2002, Ritchie Bros. introduced its real-time Internet bidding service, rbauctionBid-Live.[21]

On September 22, 2008, Ritchie Bros. launched a comprehensive online resource tool for the construction, mining, transportation, agricultural and forestry industries at MINExpo International in Las Vegas. The tool is called RitchieWiki and is associated with an equipment specification engine called RitchieSpecs.

Going public Edit

In 1998, the year that Ritchie Bros. went public, the company’s annual gross auction proceeds exceeded US$1 billion for the first time ever.[22] Its common shares were listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RBA in March 1998, followed by listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange in April 2004.[23]

Network of auction sites Edit

Investing in permanent auction sites has been a company priority since the 1970s. Ritchie Bros. opened its first permanent auction site in Nisku (Edmonton), Alberta, Canada in 1976. Before going public in 1998, the company opened additional permanent auction sites in Vancouver, B.C. (in 1979); Prince George, B.C. (1980); Denver, Colorado (1985) – the first site in the U.S.; Phoenix, Arizona (1987); Toronto, Ontario (1988); Tampa, Florida (1995); Atlanta, Georgia (1996); Minneapolis, Minnesota (1991); Houston, Texas (1993); Fort Worth, Texas (1994); Olympia, Washington (1994); and Halifax, Nova Scotia (1997).[24]

Since then, Ritchie Bros. has added auction sites in eight other countries. The company now has 40 auction sites in 10 countries worldwide: Moerdijk, Netherlands; Brisbane, Australia; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Statesville, North Carolina; Montreal, Quebec; Chicago, Illinois; North East, Maryland; Grande Prairie, Alberta; Orlando, Florida; Sacramento, California; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Buxton, North Dakota; Nashville, Tennessee; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; Saint Aubin sur Gaillon, France; London, Ontario; Ocana, Spain; Polotitlan, Mexico; Moncofa, Spain; Caorso, Italy; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Geelong, Australia; Hartford, Connecticut; and Las Vegas, Nevada.[25] The company intends to add two or three new auction sites each year to this network.

Acquisitions Edit

In 1999, Ritchie Bros. acquired Forke Brothers, an equipment auction company based in Nebraska, USA and one of its major competitors. The company moved its U.S. headquarters to Lincoln, Nebraska following the acquisition.[26] Ritchie Bros. made its foray into the agricultural equipment auction business with the acquisitions of All Peace Auctions of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada in 2002; LeBlanc Auction Service of Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada in 2004;[27] Dennis Biliske Auctioneers of Buxton, North Dakota, USA in 2006; and Clarke Auctioneers of Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Canada in 2007.[28]

Notable auctions Edit

Among the notable auctions conducted by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers:

  • construction and other equipment used to rebuild the airport, shipyard and other facilities after the Falkland Islands war (1987)
  • almost 9,800 items and pieces of equipment used in the US$1 billion cleanup operation following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska (1990)
  • The equipment used to build the Confederation Bridge that links the province of Prince Edward Island with the Canadian mainland (1997).

50th Anniversary Edit

Ritchie Bros. celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008. As a gift to the heavy equipment industries it launched RitchieWiki web site in September 2008 at MINExpo International in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 2008 Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. conducted 340 unreserved industrial and agricultural auctions generating gross auction proceeds of US$3.57 billion.[29] The company sold more than 253,000 lots from 37,000 consignments and processed 277,000 bidder registrations. Of those, 84,000 were successful buyers with a total of 16,000 buyers purchasing their equipment online.[30] 

Ritchie Bros. also conducted the largest auction in company history in February 2008. The five-day auction at the company’s auction site in Orlando, Florida featured 6,200 lots, generated in excess of US$190 million in gross auction proceeds and attracted over 6,000 registered bidders from 71 different countries.[1]

The Company Today Edit

In 2009 Ritchie Bros. sold US$3.5 billion of equipment at 327 unreserved auctions worldwide, including nearly $830 million sold to online bidders.[31]

In 2010 Ritchie Bros. opened up five new or replacement permanent auction facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Houston, Texas; London, Ontario; Grande Prairie, Alberta; and Mexico City, Mexico.

On April 20, 2010 Ritchie Bros. launched its new 21-language web site (http://www.rbauction.com) at BAUMA 2010 in Munich, Germany.


Industrial auction results

Year ended December 31, 2009
Year ended December 31, 2008
Number of industrial auctions
195
193
Bidder registrations
336,000
277,000
Buyers
98,000
84,000
Consignments
37,000
37,000
Lots
283,000
253,000


Average industrial auction

Year ended December 31, 2009
Year ended December 31, 2008
Gross auction proceeds
$17.3 million
$17.7 million
Registered bidders
1,720
1,430
Consignors
190
190
Lots
1,450
1,300

Gross auction proceeds records broken in 2009[31] Edit

  • Moncofa, Spain – 33 million Euros ($43 million): the largest Spanish auction in company history (March 11 – 13)
  • Montreal, Quebec – CA$31 million ($25 million) (March 12 & 13)
  • Houston, Texas – $66 million (March 25 – 27)
  • Edmonton, Alberta – CA$93 million ($79 million): the largest Canadian auction in company history (April 28 – 30). Ritchie Bros.’ Edmonton site sold CA$392 million ($344 million) of equipment in 2009: the highest annual gross auction proceeds of any site in company history.
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates – $46 million: the largest Middle Eastern auction in company history (June 1 – 3)
  • Denver, Colorado – $35 million (June 4 & 5)
  • Caorso, Italy – the largest Italian auction in company history (June 11 & 12)
  • Paris, France – the largest French auction in company history (June 25 & 26)
  • London, Ontario – new regional record (September 18)
  • Fort Worth, Texas – $66 million (September 23 – 25)
  • Madrid, Spain – new regional record (October 23)


References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "About Ritchie Bros. Ritchie Bros. website. 2008-09-09". Rbauction.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  2. "NEWS RELEASE Okanagan Logging Contractor Hires Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers for Complete Dispersal. Ritchie Bros. unreserved auction to be held on the Westside on May 25" (PDF). Ritchie Bros (May 1, 2006). Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  3. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 23
  4. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 17
  5. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 24
  6. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 25
  7. "RB History. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  8. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 25, 27
  9. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 35, 39
  10. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 35
  11. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 39, 48, 70
  12. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 39
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 "History. Ritchie Bros. website. 2008-09-09". Rbauction.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  14. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p.
  15. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 46
  16. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 48, 70, 71, 73, 75, 76, 78, 88
  17. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 79
  18. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 91, 98;
  19. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 104
  20. "Company History. Funding Universe. 2008-09-09". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  21. "News. Ritchie Bros. website. 2008-09-09". Rbauction.com (2002-03-21). Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  22. March 31, 1999 Annual Report – English Annual Report. Sedar. 2008-09-09.
  23. "News. Ritchie Bros. website. 2008-09-09". Rbauction.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  24. April 6, 1998 Long Form Prospectus – English Company Documents. Sedar. 2008-09-09.
  25. February 21, 2008 Annual Information Form and August 8, 2008 – English Annual Information. Sedar. 2008-09-09.
  26. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 116
  27. "Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers - Unreserved Equipment Auctions". Rbauction.com (2004-02-06). Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  28. Jeffrey L. Rodengen, The Legend of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Write Stuff Enterprises Inc., 2004), p. 124;
  29. "Ritchie Bros. Annual Report 2008. 18-08-2009." (PDF). Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  30. "Media Quick Facts. Ritchie Bros. Official Corporate web site. 18-08-2009". Rbauction.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-16.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Ritchie Bros. website. "Ritchie Bros. sets records for online sales, bidders and items sold in 2009." 12-21-2009.

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