VANCOUVER - Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers says it has signed a deal to buy U.S. company SmartEquip for US$175 million.

SmartEquip helps customers with spare parts purchasing and real-time service and diagnostic support for equipment.

Ritchie Bros. says the deal helps further its strategy to move beyond being a traditional auctioneer of used heavy equipment.

CEO Ann Fandozzi says SmartEquip will allow the company to offer asset-specific parts and service support on behalf of its dealer and OEM partners.

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions.

Ritchie Bros. says SmartEquip has 60 employees and will continue to operate as a stand-alone business and maintain its physical presence in Norwalk, Conn.