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Projects ‘broadly continuing,’ but many on modified basis Aecon reports

Projects ‘broadly continuing,’ but many on modified basis Aecon reports

TORONTO — Aecon Group said it has withdrawn its 2020 outlook as it evaluates slowdowns or suspension of work at several of its projects in multiple jurisdictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aecon is also dealing with the deferral of several project procurement processes in the company’s bidding pipeline, noted a March 30 statement.

The statement said the majority of governments across the jurisdictions in which Aecon operates have deemed construction projects to be essential services and therefore, operations are broadly continuing, although in many cases on a modified basis.

The firm said it has “activated continuity plans and a rigorous COVID-19 health and safety assurance process, which meets or exceeds guidance by applicable government health authorities, to minimize disruptions to its business and adapt to evolving market conditions and safety standards.” The plans include stringent site pre-screening processes, heightened hygienic and disinfection practices, physical distancing, provision of additional personal protective equipment to frontline workers, team separation and staggered work hours where possible, as well as extensive technology-enabled remote work initiatives.

The release said Aecon has eliminated all non-essential spending, reduced discretionary capital investments and is evaluating ongoing cost-saving opportunities under different operating scenarios and timelines.

Aecon’s financial position, liquidity and capital resources “remain strong, and are expected to be sufficient to finance its operations and working capital requirements for the foreseeable future,” the release stated. As of March 30, Aecon had $74 million of cash on hand, excluding cash in joint ventures and restricted cash, and a committed revolving credit facility of $600 million, of which $105 million was utilized, primarily for letters of credit. When combined with an additional $700-million performance security guarantee facility to support letters of credit provided by Export Development Canada, Aecon’s total committed credit facilities for working capital and letter of credit requirements total $1.3 billion.

“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,” said Jean-Louis Servranckx, Aecon’s president and CEO.

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