FOLLOWING the headline-grabbing sale of family-run Dromore business, Euro Auctions for $1.1bn (almost €800m sterling), Jonnie Keys spoke to the Herald.
Jonnie and his three brothers, Derek, Lynden and Trevor Keys will remain on in the business they built up since 1998 after the sale goes through, which is expected to be later this year or in early 2022.
The acquisition is subject to all usual regulatory clearances including that of the mergers and monopolies commission.
Some details of the deal include:
– All 75 jobs in Dromore and the 200 in Euro Auctions sites around the world are secured;
– Derek Keys will remain in the business for at least three years;
– Jonnie keys will assume a senior leasdership position, and Lynden and Trevor Keys will be retained as sourcing leads;
– The Keys family will retain ownership of all the Euro Auctions property including the Dromore HQ and 14 auction sites around the world, leasing them to Ritchie Bros. instead.
“Our customers won’t notice any difference,” Jonnie Keys said, “The Euro Auctions brand will continue and the staff will be the same.”
“In fact, you’ll see in your newspaper this week, that we are recruiting for more staff for Euro Auctions, Dromore,” he added.
A statement from Ritchie Bros. said: “We will be retaining Euro Auctions employees and its brand, both of which are highly regarded in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.”
Jonnie confirmed it was Euro Auctions who sought the sale and approached Ritchie Bros.
“Derek had the insight to see that we could handle more if we joined forces,” Jonnie said, “We were looking to take the business to the next level and we knew that if we lived long enough to see it, there was still plenty of growth to come.
“Ritchie Bros. will ramp business up more.”
Pointing out that Euro Auctions is currently about one-seventh of the size of Ritchie Bros., Jonnie said he and his brothers modelled much of what they do on their Canadian counterparts.
“They are very similar to us in that our father was a farmer but started a small machinery business and we brothers went into the business and grew it.
“Three Ritchie brothers started their business in 1958 and grew it to where it is today turning $5.4bn last year.”
Jonnie said the purchase made sense to Ritchie Bros. because Euro Auctions have outlets in Hong Kong, Dubai, USA, Brisbane, Australia, Spain, Germany and UK.
“Euro Auctions has considerable presence across Europe and the Middle East, particlualry in the UK and Germany and will serve as a platform to accelerate international growth,” Ritchie Bros, has said, “This will expand the Ritchie Bros overall footprint and access to equipment, while also tapping into new revenue streams with service offerings to Euro Auctions customers.”
Jonnie Keys said the services that Ritchie Bros. has pioneered and mastered was a big attraction for him and his brothers.
“Ritchie Bros. have a list of services like inventory management, data solutions, financing, warranty, insurance, refurbishing, shipping and more,” he said.
Under the terms of the transaction, Ritchie Bros. will acquire 100 per cent of the equity of the companies comprised within the Euro Auctions group for an enterprise value of £775 million (approximately US$1.08 billion) in cash.
Ritchie Bros. intends to finance the transaction through a combination of cash on hand and new debt; and has bridge financing commitments from Goldman Sachs Bank USA, to facilitate the transaction close.
“We never thought when Derek started in 1998 that we would be part of Ritchie Bros.,” Jonnie concluded, “We are all delighted with the deal and the future.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition