February 28, 2012 / 1:07 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ritchie Bros 4th-qtr profit misses estimates

* Q4 EPS $0.25 vs $0.13 yr ago

* Auction revenue up 28 pct

* Says strong pricing, competitive environment continues

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Canada’s Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Inc posted a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and said it continues to see competitive pressures this year as well.

The auctioneer, which sells trucks and other equipment used in the construction, agricultural and mining industries, faced stiff competition and falling prices for used equipment last year as a result of a weak construction market.

However, this year it expects improvements in used equipment transactions, which are driven in part by rise in production of new equipment.

Ritchie Bros, which began more than half a century ago as a family-run business in British Columbia, Canada, reported net profit of $26.8 million, or 25 cents a share, up from $13.5 million, or 13 cents a share, a year ago.

Auction revenue rose 28 percent to $113.4 million.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 26 cents a share, on revenue of $119.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Auction revenue rate — which is auction revenue as a percentage of gross auction proceeds — was nearly flat at 10.91 percent.

Ritchie Bros, valued at more than $2.7 billion, said gross auction proceeds jumped 30 percent to $1.0 billion in the quarter.

The company conducts auctions in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East for used and unused equipment for the construction, transportation, agricultural and mining industries.

It auctions Caterpillar, Komatsu, Manitowoc and Liebherr trucks and cranes.

Other companies offering similar services include IronPlanet, Great American Group, GoIndustry, Hilco Industrial, Alex Lyons & Son and Dubai’s World Wide Auctioneers.

Ritchie Bros’ shares, which have gained more than a fourth of their value in the last three months, closed at C$25.58 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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