Sponsored by Oregon Business

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.



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

Company Present Accepted

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

’Tis the season of giving — and that goes far beyond trees drowning in Lego sets and ironic knitwear. Santa Claus knows corporations are people too, in need of gifts to warm the hearts (and stomachs) of even the most Grinch-like CFOs.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.


Roll On

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The myth of a freight-dependent economy.


Straight shooter

Linda Baker
Thursday, October 08, 2015
100815-bradleyBY LINDA BAKER

In an era dominated by self-promotion and marketing speak, John Bradley, CEO of R&H Construction, is a breath of fresh air.


OEN takes Portlandia route in new video

The Latest
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.27.58 PMBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Several Portland entrepreneurs make appearance in patently silly "The Dream of the Startup is Alive in Oregon" promo.


100 Best Nonprofits: Working for equality inside and out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.


Reader Input: In or Out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02