CertainTeed Corp. shuttered its PVC resin manufacturing plant in Westlake, La., after 40 years of operation in response to steep competition in the market.
The facility closed Jan. 2, but the 50-plus employees remain on active status through March 2. They will receive severance packages and have chances to move to other company positions as part of the out-placement support.
The Westlake polymer plant produced CertainTeed's proprietary PVC resin called Certavin and was a part of the company's siding products group, which also supplies accessories like siding, fences and railing. Other PVC resin suppliers reportedly have been identified to service those customers.
Based in Malvern, Pa., CertainTeed is the fifth largest pipe, profile and tubing manufacturer in North America with estimated sales of $680 million, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.
CertainTeed is a subsidiary of Cie de Saint-Gobain SA, which is headquartered in France and posted global group sales of $3.7 billion in 2017.
Founded in 1904 to produce fire-resistant roof shingles, CertainTeed grew into a building products manufacturer. The company began offering PVC products in 1965 when it acquired pipe extruder Plains Plastics. It expanded into selling vinyl siding to builders and contractors in 1969. The Westlake polymer plant made CertainTeed a vertically integrated manufacturer with control of its entire process from raw materials to production to marketing.
In 2013, CertainTeed sold its PVC pipe business to Westlake Chemical Corp. for $175 million amidst plans to focus more on housing products.
CertainTeed touted its resin plant as the only PVC manufacturing facility to use the bulk polymerization process, which it patented and described as using significantly less energy and water when compared to suspension processes used by other resin producers.
However, looking ahead, company officials questioned the need for the facility to continue making PVC with so many other suppliers out there.
“Long-term raw material supply options were no longer economically viable to allow Lake Charles to continue to supply resin to our plants,” CertainTeed spokeswoman Lisa Miree-Luke told The American Press.
CertainTeed also recently closed a manufacturing plant for fiberglass and foam insulation in Sherman, Texas. About 35 employees worked in production and warehousing operations. All were laid off in early December but the eight warehouse workers.