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BioLab celebrates reopening of Louisiana chlorine production plant

KIK CEO Michael Sload cuts the ribbon at the newly rebuilt Lake Charles, Louisiana, manufacturing plant on November 2, 2022. Joining him are KIK pool president Ignacio Campos, KIK chief operating officer Jeff Schmidt, plant manager Donald Brunette, and KIK chief financial officer Steve Jackson. Senator Bill Cassidy, Congressman Clay Higgins and Don Pierson, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development also joined KIK employees, retail partners, construction, and other local partners including the Lake Charles Metal Trades Council, as well as other members of the community in the celebration of the event.
KIK CEO Michael Sload cuts the ribbon at the newly rebuilt Lake Charles, Louisiana, manufacturing plant on November 2, 2022. Joining him are KIK pool president Ignacio Campos, KIK chief operating officer Jeff Schmidt, plant manager Donald Brunette, and KIK chief financial officer Steve Jackson. Senator Bill Cassidy, Congressman Clay Higgins and Don Pierson, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development also joined KIK employees, retail partners, construction, and other local partners including the Lake Charles Metal Trades Council, as well as other members of the community in the celebration of the event.

KIK Consumer Products marks the successful rebuild of its subsidiary BioLab’s state-of-the-art trichlor production facility in Westlake, Louisiana, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Today marks a new beginning for BioLab and is the culmination of over 26 months of planning, engineering, construction, and commissioning,” says Jeff Schmitt, chief operating officer of KIK Consumer Products. “Our plant stands here today as a demonstration of the resiliency of our workforce and the people of Louisiana who have made this project possible. With the support of the people, businesses, and institutions across Lake Charles, including the Louisiana State Police and local fire department and law enforcement, we have delivered on our promise of rebuilding and reinvesting in the future of not only this facility—but the future of this community.”

Following the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Laura in 2020, the company invested more than $250 million in rebuilding and reopening its damaged facility. The new facility will employ nearly 80 staff and reflects BioLab’s commitment to building on its deep roots in Louisiana, where it has operated for decades. Further, the facility is reconstructed with improved production flexibility, which will enable the manufacturer to meet the demand for pool cleaning products more effectively. The facility will also operate with numerous enhanced safety features, including improved structural ratings, an elevated control room and ride-out shelter, and improved fire detection and extinguishing systems.

“We are delighted to reopen our BioLab facility in time to support the 2023 pool season and to meet our promise to the Lake Charles community to rebuild,” says Michael Sload, CEO of KIK Consumer Products. “Our thanks go to our valued stakeholders who have made this milestone possible—from our dedicated employees and trusted retail partners to the entire community at large. We look forward to furthering our more than 40-year history in Lake Charles for years to come, bringing products to millions of families that help keep their spas and swimming pools safe and clean.”

Don Brunette, BioLab’s plant manager, echoed this sentiment: “Our BioLab employees are excited to get back to work and honoured to celebrate this moment together with all our stakeholders. We are pleased to be welcoming our team back to our newly rebuilt facility, which is one of the most advanced trichlor production facilities in the world… ”

BioLab’s original manufacturing facility in Louisiana was built in 1979, but a major component of the plant was destroyed as a result of Hurricane Laura’s impact on the region. At the time, experts predicted the cost of chlorine tablets would skyrocket during the COVID-19 pandemic as the Louisiana plant—estimated to produce about 70 per cent of North American’s chlorine products treatments—was the continent’s largest supplier of pool and spa treatment products. KIK announced in summer 2021 that it would invest to build a new chlorine products facility.

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