Axiall resumes operations at damaged Lake Charles PVC feedstock plant

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Axiall Corp. has resumed operations at its PVC feedstock plant that was damaged by a fire in December.

The firm’s vinyl chloride monomer plant in Lake Charles, La., has been repaired and is expected to reach full operating rates in May, officials with Atlanta-based Axiall said in an April 14 news release.

No cause has been identified for the Dec. 20 fire, which was extinguished an hour after it started and which did not result in any injuries.

The resulting VCM outage — combined with severe winter weather and “a sequential increase” to normal maintenance spending — has led Axiall to spend $10 million to prepare its plants to run at high operating rates for the remainder of the year, President and CEO Paul Carrico said in the release. Axiall first had identified these factors as “significant headwinds” in February.

“Long-term, we remain confident that our integrated chemicals and building products business will continue to benefit from low-cost natural gas in North America and growing demand for our broadened product portfolio,” Carrico added in the April 14 release.

Axiall ranks as one of North America’s leading PVC resin makers and compounders. The firm’s Royal Building Products unit is North America’s third-largest pipe, profile and tubing maker, according to a recent Plastics News ranking.

Axiall was formed in 2012 when Georgia Gulf Corp. merged with the commodity chemicals business of PPG Industries. The firm employs 2,000 and has annual sales of about $5 billion.