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Parkland Fuel drains$300M from budget to deal with COVID-19 demand impact



Parkland Fuel Corp. is cutting its 2020 capital spending budget by 52% and trimming executive salaries in response to the uncertain economic impact of the novel coronavirus.

The Calgary-based company, which sells fuel through more than 2,600 service stations throughout Canada and in the United States and Caribbean, says it plans to spend $275 million this year, down from its earlier guidance of $575 million.

Parkland says it has already spent about $130 million of the budget in the first quarter, which ends Tuesday.

It says starting that Wednesday, president and CEO Bob Espey will take a 35% salary reduction, while other members of the leadership team will take a 25% cut and directors will accept a 25% reduction in cash retainer fees.

The company withdrew its 2020 earnings guidance, while noting it remains focused on providing fuel and convenience store services to customers via its brands including Ultramar, FasGas, Chevron and Esso.

Parkland says its Burnaby, B.C., refinery, which is shut down for maintenance, is to be restarted in early April and utilization rates will be determined based on the demand outlook at the time.

"We are responding quickly and prudently to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,'' said Espey in a statement.

"We will maintain the operational flexibility to resume our growth initiatives when conditions improve.''

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