Sponsored by Lane Powell

Esco sees bright spot in gold as global slowdown hits

| Print |  Email
Archives - April 2009
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

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

The Green Paradox

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL

Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


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