Turners Auctions has pulled out of Canada, selling its 50 per cent stake in Able Auto Auctions Inc to its joint venture partners.

The stake was sold for a cash consideration of C$100,000 ($149,588).

In 2004, Turners said it was committed to the joint venture business in Vancouver.

"I've got no doubt we're going to make a lot of money in North America," said chief executive Jeff Wesley, boosted by news that Turners had been awarded a Canadian Government contract to handle all the vehicle sales for British Columbia until 2009.

Mr Wesley said he was confident the joint venture, formed with British Columbia's Able Auctions, would report "satisfactory and growing profits in the second half of 2004 and beyond".

Today, the company said the sale would "free up resources to allow it to focus more on its core business".

Turners Auctions shares were untraded at 185c at midday, after selling between 305c and 172c over the year.