After several months of assessing, removing and attempting to salvage structures and some intensive planning to optimize future operations, the BioLab team began the reconstruction of the Lake Charles, Lousiana plant.
KIK/BioLab executives and local officials, including Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, gathered on June 30, 2021, to break ground and officially kickoff that phase of the project.
When Hurricane Laura destroyed the facility back in August 2020, the team mobilized and immediately began planning how to restore the plant and workforce as soon as possible. They spent countless hours developing ways to strengthen the facility, improve its operations and streamline the building process.
The addresses of the KIK executives and the Louisiana governor during the groundbreaking ceremony highlighted that KIK’s investment in Lake Charles will not only return jobs to the community but also allow the resumption of the production of much-needed products that benefit the millions of people who enjoy pools and spas.
As Gov. Edwards quipped, “I have a pool at my house and I can tell you that since this facility has been sidelined, the cost of those chemicals has gone up and they’re harder to get. I am so happy we are going to be putting it back into production soon.”
“The shortage resulting from the shut-down of tour facility is impacting pool retailers and pool owners across the country and they are eagerly awaiting our plant to be operational and to fill the gap,” BioLab President Jon Viner said.
But Stephen Jackson, KIK CFO, also pointed out that the company plans to go beyond merely filling the market gap.
“The $170-million investment that KIK is going to deliver on will improve and make this facility more efficient and flexible," he said. "It will be a state-of-the-art plant that will significantly increase our capacity.”
Gov. Edwards said that “BioLab represents the very best of the character of Louisiana’s workforce and the resiliency here in Louisiana not only to come back but come back stronger and better.”
The company is targeting a spring 2022 reopening and until the plant is fully operational, it will continue sourcing raw materials from global sources to fulfill the ongoing need for chlorine sanitizers in the US and Canadian markets.