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

Flattery with Numbers

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The false promise of economic impact statements.


Read more...

Greenpeace (temporarily) prevents Shell oil ship from leaving Portland

The Latest
Thursday, July 30, 2015
hangersBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Activists have suspended themselves from the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, slowing an icebreaker's departure for the Arctic.


Read more...

10 Innovators in Rural Health

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...

Reader Input: Rx for Health Care

July/August 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers how Obamacare has impacted their business.


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