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Swiss Krono LLC, a division of Swiss Krono Group and until 2016 known as KronotexUSA, began distribution in the United States in 2000 and in 2005 opened its current manufacturing facility in Barnwell, S.C. Here in Barnwell, we create virtually any style, shape, finish, texture, scrape, bevel, locking system, thickness, size and attached pad of laminate flooring planks sold through distributors, dealers and chains nationwide. This amazing growth and our ability to supply the needs of the marketplace have earned us the nickname “The Quiet Giant” of laminate flooring that’s proudly made by Americans and made for Americans.
In January at Surfaces 2016, we announced the latest of several changes that will provide distributors, retailers and consumers the best innovations and quality in laminate flooring: KronotexUSA changed its name to SWISS KRONO LLC to reflect the parent company’s and the products’ Swiss heritage in woodworking and precision technology. All eight countries where Swiss Krono operates changed their name and logo in early 2016 to reflect this pooling of expertise, intensifying of R&D, and forging of a common identity. According to Ines Kaindl, President of the Board of Directors of the SWISS KRONO GROUP headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland, “We want to leverage a strong, uniform brand to spotlight our tradition and history while making a greater international impact. This will enable us to help shape the market’s future.”
Max von Tippelskirch, Chief Strategy and Communication Officer, Swiss Krono Group
Due to the growing popularity of our flooring in North America, we invested $45 million in 2011 to expand the Barnwell facility, almost doubling its size. In 2015 another expansion added equipment to do our own paper and overlay treating, which gives us even greater control over quality, just-in-time production, and finished product output speed. Then in early 2016 we announced plans to build a High Density Fiberboard (HDF) mill and expand our laminate flooring production capability at our current manufacturing site near Barnwell, S.C. The $230 million investment will produce 984,000 cubic feet per year of HDF for use in our laminate flooring manufacturing operations in Barnwell and for sale to furniture, cabinet, fixture, door and other wood-based manufacturers. The investment will also increase our capacity of the laminate flooring operations to produce an additional 26.2 million square feet of new high-design, premium-quality laminate flooring. The project will add 105 new highly-skilled technical and management jobs to the Barnwell area and increase total employment at Swiss Krono to 275 employees. Preliminary engineering has been completed and construction is expected to start by mid-2016. HDF operations will likely begin by the summer of 2018. Final approval of the project is contingent on reaching agreement on various incentives with the state of South Carolina, the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission, and the Barnwell County Council.
In addition to this news, the company appointed a new CEO & President, Erik Christensen, to run its U.S. operations in Barnwell, South Carolina, effective October 24, 2017. Mr. Christensen comes to Swiss Krono from Hansgrohe, a German manufacturer of premium decorative plumbing, where he served as President for the North American business for the last 3 ½ years. He brings to Swiss Krono over 28 years of building products experience including leadership roles at flooring companies such as Armstrong World Industries and Shaw.