Aecon withdraws financial guidance as it weighs impact of slow downs, stoppages tied to coronavirus
By David KennedyConstruction COVID-19
Aecon Group Inc. has withdrawn its financial guidance for 2020 as it evaluates the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business.
The Canadian contractor joins a long list of Canadian companies to pull their 2020 outlooks — typically used by investors and financial analysts — as coronavirus creates considerable uncertainty throughout the global economy.
Aecon said March 31 it is currently weighing the impact of temporary slow downs or work stoppages on numerous projects across several regions “due to directives recently issued by clients and governments.” It also noted delays in the procurement processes for certain projects in the company’s bidding pipeline could lead to a slowdown in new contract wins.
“As we all contend with the challenging COVID-19 pandemic, the health, safety and well-being of our employees and their families is our top priority,” Jean-Louis Servranckx, the company’s president and CEO, said in a release “Our thoughts and gratitude are with all of the front-line workers whose efforts are ensuring the continuity of essential services.”
Among other affected projects, Aecon is part of the consortium building the Réseau express métropolitain light rail system in Montreal. Work on the REM has been halted until April 14, as a result of the provincial government’s order that all non-essential businesses pause operations. The contractor is also part of the joint venture refurbishing Ontario’s Darlington Generation Station. Though construction on most projects in Ontario continues, the next phase of the nuclear retrofit has been delayed as a result of the virus.
On its job sites that remain active, Aecon said it has enacted rigorous health and safety processes that meet or exceed those laid out by health authorities.
“These plans include stringent site pre-screening processes, heightened hygienic and disinfection practices, physical distancing, provision of additional personal protective equipment to front line workers, team separation and staggered work hours where possible, as well as extensive technology-enabled remote work initiatives,” the contractor said.
To rein in costs during the uncertain times, Aecon said it has eliminated non-essential spending, reduced discretionary capital investments and is looking at ways to further cut costs.