Canada-based Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers said its gross auction sales topped $293.2 million in the first quarter, with net income reaching $5.4 million, even as the volume of used trucks and equipment the company auctions continues to rise.

Ritchie Bros. said first-quarter gross auction sales of $293.2 million generated auction revenues of $29.3 million, compared to gross auction sales of $289.7 million, auction revenues of $25.4 million, and net income of $3.1 million in the first quarter of last year.

During the first three months of 2002, Ritchie Bros. said it sold more than 29,000 lots for more than 3,700 consignors at 22 auctions attended by over 28,000 bidders.

"We have been enjoying record attendance at many of our auctions and this tells me that contractors have an increasing amount of confidence in their future prospects," chairman & CEO David E. Ritchie said.

Ritchie added that it appears used equipment market conditions are improving measurably.