Sponsored by Oregon Business

Esco sees bright spot in gold as global slowdown hits

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

PORTLAND What a difference a year makes. A year ago, Portland-based heavy equipment manufacturer Esco was surging along on strong prices for metals and oil as well as emerging markets in India and China. Not any more. Price drops and the global slowdown have forced the company to cut 400 positions globally and 120 jobs in Portland.

Esco has been based in Portland since 1913. It survived the Depression years by building parts for sawmills and paper plants. Today its areas of interest span the globe, from gold mines in Africa to the oil sands region of Canada. When prices for copper, iron ore and oil plummet, as they have, Esco receives fewer orders and more cancellations and has to adapt swiftly.

But there are bright spots. For one thing, there is gold, which has been hovering around $900 per ounce. “Gold is a significant piece of our business, and it has been a bright spot for us,” says Mark Mallory, Esco’s vice president of North American sales.

“Based on all the fear in the economy I’m expecting the gold price to stay strong and as long as it stays up miners will keep digging for it with our equipment.”

Digging also continues in the oil sands, although the dramatic drop in oil prices has turned the boomtown of Fort “McMoney” back into plain old Fort McMurray. Esco runs a supply store there, and oil companies have invested so much in the area that they’re still digging away, despite the price drop. “We still think that over the long term there is a huge upside in the oil sands,” says Mallory.

The same goes for stimulus works, especially major bridge and highway projects, which will require the sorts of dozers and excavators that Esco specializes in. And who knows? If the stimulus works, commodity prices may creep back up, putting miners back to work in Brazil and foundry workers back on the job in Portland. Time will tell.

BEN JACKLET

 

oilsands Esco’s business reaches to the oil sands region of Canada.


 

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Can small be large?

Linda Baker
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
040115-lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Can Oregon remain small but mighty in a global food economy? That was one of the questions raised during this morning’s panel discussion on agriculture exports.


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

10 Oregon companies positioning themselves for growth

The Latest
Friday, March 13, 2015
vcthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Ten startups have secured venture capital, angel or seed funding in 2015.


Read more...

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS