Sellers looking for liquidity helped keep Ritchie Bros. active through the first quarter of 2020, leading the company to show a profit of $0.21 per share on net income of $22.8 million, an increase of 26 percent over income in Q1 of 2019.
The Burnaby, B.C.-based auctioneer has been facing challenges and forced to move its auctions entirely to online formats as it handles the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining its own operations.
"During these unprecedented times, our customers turned to Ritchie Bros. for liquidity and we were able to continue operating our business while keeping the health and safety of our employees and our customers at the forefront", said Ann Fandozzi, Chief Executive Officer of Ritchie Bros. "Continuing our operations is a testament to our employees, our flexible operational model, our technology and the financial strength of our balance sheet. As social distancing measures took hold, we successfully transitioned our business entirely to online formats quickly and effectively. Overall, we delivered strong first quarter financial performance while providing solid price performance for our customers."
Social distancing restrictions that came into place during the first quarter resulted in a move to online auctions for Ritchie Bros.' traditional live auction sites, including its large Edmonton auction; the company's core online channels, IronPlanet.com, GovPlanet.com and Marketplace-E, carried on as normal, the company reported. Sellers were able to drop equipment off at the company's physical yards, and buyers are capable of conducting pre-auction inspections as well as picking up equipment post-auction.
Several auctions were postponed to the second quarter.