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Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers JANUARY 10 www. bus- ex. com 139 Unreserved value W hen capital equipment is no longer required by one company, the best way to realize its value is to sell it at auction. Many buyers see an auction as somewhere to look for a bargain. For both buyers and sellers the risk is high, though. The goods may bring in less than they are worth; the goods may have hidden defects; and at worst, they may be financially entailed, illegally imported or even stolen. These problems are not unknown in local unregulated auctions, special equipment sales conducted by non-specialist auctioneers, and, of course, you have to be particularly careful with online auctions. Sure, eBay is fine for bric- a- brac, but it's no place for professionals. Let's face it, most owners would rather go through the ponderous process of putting surplus goods out to tender than auction them. But there's no need to view an auction as any riskier than a direct sale and purchase if you can be sure you're putting the transaction in the hands of someone who knows the business and the market and has a track record of fairness and transparency. These are the core values of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the world's largest industrial auctioneer. You get what you see: at most sites mobile equipment is driven over a ramp in front of the auction theater so the crowd can see each machine in operation as they bid. Equipment to be sold is brought to the auction site weeks ahead of sale day, and prospective buyers are encouraged to come to the yard to test, inspect and compare the equipment to assess its value and condition before bidding. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers began as a small family- run business in Canada. In 1958 the three Ritchie brothers held their first sale in Kelowna, British Columbia, to dispose of surplus inventory from their furniture store. So successful were they that within a few years they had moved on to industrial auctioneering. The company expanded across North America, then moved to Europe in 1987, Australia in 1990, Mexico in 1995, the Middle East in 1997 and Africa in 2003. Now headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Ritchie Bros. is a truly global company, with over 110 locations worldwide, including 38 auction sites. The company went public in 1998 and is now listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. In 2008 alone it sold $ 3.57 billion of used and new equipment at 340 unreserved auctions, including a wide range of heavy equipment, trucks and other assets for the construction, transportation, agricultural, material handling, mining, forestry, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers reserves and in- bidding is a fair market value. brought trust and industrial auction house