Trucking firm Mullen Group reports 1,000 layoffs as pandemic slows economy

Trucking firm Mullen Group reports 1,000 layoffs as pandemic slows economy

CALGARY — Trucking, logistics and oilfield services firm Mullen Group Ltd. says it has temporarily laid off about 1,000 people because of the impact of measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman and CEO Murray Mullen says the Calgary-based company was outperforming its year-earlier performance until mid-March, when demand for its services turned lower.

He says there’s been a sharp decline in the demand for discretionary consumer goods as well as in commodity-based industries but its less-than-truckload and large diameter pipe transport businesses are doing well.

Mullen says the company has established a $5-million family assistance fund to help staff affected by the downturn.

The company reported net income of $4.7 million or four cents per share on revenue of $318 million in the three months ended March 31.

That’s down from net income of $11.6 million or 11 cents on revenue of $320 million in the first quarter of 2019.

“The bottom line is that this health crisis is hurting a lot of people,” Mullen said in a statement.

He added: “We will see business decline, perhaps quite significantly in the short-term, however, I believe we will weather this crisis and come out of it stronger.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:MTL)

The Canadian Press

CALGARY — Enerplus Corp. is shutting down oil wells and again cutting its capital spending plans due to low crude prices linked to measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement two days after benchmark U.S. oil futures prices fell into negative territory for the first time in history, Enerplus says it will cut another $25 million to take its 2020 capital budget to $300 million.

The reduction and a previous one announced in mid-March leaves it at about 55 per cent of its original budget of $545 million.

West Texas Intermediate oil prices strengthened Wednesday, rising by more than 20 per cent from a settlement price of US$10.01 per barrel on Tuesday. They are still down more than 75 per cent since Jan. 1.

Enerplus says it has begun to temporarily shut-in certain wells across the Williston basin in Montana and North Dakota, as well as in its Canadian operations.

It says it expects April production to be modestly impacted by shut-ins and will average about 88,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Deeper cuts to production are expected in May.

“The unprecedented impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the excess global oil supply, poses significant challenges for our industry,” said CEO Ian Dundas in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ERF)

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly stated the percentage reduction in the Enerplus budget.

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