Linamar Corp. is setting up a community clinic this week that could deliver up to 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines per day, as the auto parts maker prioritizes vaccines in its recovery from the pandemic.
The Guelph, Ont. manufacturer said on Wednesday that the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit will schedule the vaccines, and that the company will administer the shots and create a playbook to help other companies start vaccine clinics.
Several companies have recently rolled out announcements about vaccines, including time off for staffers getting shots or offers to help the government administer vaccines. For instance, BMO has said it will offer three hours of paid time off for employees to get vaccinated, while Cineplex has suggested using its theatres as vaccine clinics.
Linamar’s announcement comes after chief executive Linda Hasenfratz resigned as a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force in late January, after it was brought to Premier Doug Ford’s attention that she travelled outside the country in December.
“Our current focus now is on three key areas. First, continuing to ensure a safe workplace, as now is not the time to become complacent around our safety protocols,” Hasenfratz said on a conference call with financal analysts on Wednesday.
“Second, we’re focused on testing to help reduce community spread. And finally, we’re focused on vaccinations, both in terms of encouraging our global employee base to get vaccinated, and also helping to deliver those vaccines.”
The vaccine clinic announcement was part of Linamar’s quarterly financial results, which showed that net income rose to $113.1 million, or $1.73 per diluted share in the final three months of 2020 — up from $49.7 million, or 76 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Revenue during the quarter was $1.7 billion, up from $1.6 billion in the year-ago period.
On an adjusted basis, Linamar’s earnings amounted to $1.97 per diluted share, up from $1.15 per diluted in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of $1.46 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.
Last year “was quite a year, from the lows of Q2 shutdowns, to only a few months later, exceptional earnings growth.” Hasenfratz said in a statement.
When asked why the auto parts manufacturer still qualifies for wage subsidy benefits, Hasenfratz told analysts the subsidies will wane in coming quarters, as will some of the cost savings on things like travel.
But Hasenfratz said the company is well-positioned thanks to new business in the electric vehicle market, despite a shortage of computer chips that has hampered assembly of cars and trucks.
“The impact of the chip shortage and other supply chain issues seems to be changing day-to-day and it is very difficult to predict. Clearly we’re going to feel an impact in (the first quarter) but the extent of such is not clear,” Hasenfratz said.
Farmers are also feeling good about the harvest last year and a rally in commodity prices, which could help Linamar’s agriculture equipment business, Hasenfratz said.