French PPE company poised to add jobs in Troy

N95 masks made by 3M. (Eve Edelheit/The New York Times)

A French company said it will add 50 jobs at a Troy plant for the production of personal protective equipment, including masks.

The Chargeurs Group Tuesday announced what it called a “significant investment” to expand the company’s U.S. manufacturing footprint to re-shore personal protective equipment (PPE) production.

The project will support Chargeurs' newest division, U.S.-based Lainiere Health & Wellness, which will oversee the distribution, marketing and sales of U.S.-manufactured PPE, including consumer-grade and medical-grade three-ply masks as well as 95-level respirator masks, the business said in a release.

Novacel corporate office, Troy. Contributed.

A spokeswoman for the company said Chargeurs has already filled 13 positions and at full capacity, which includes 4 production lines running 24/7, they will create 53 jobs in total.

“Chargeurs is highly committed to developing new industrial capacity in the U.S. and to contributing to the country’s ability to manufacture PPE domestically,” Michaël Fribourg, chairman and chief executive of Chargeurs Group, said in the company’s announcement. “We are grateful to all of our U.S. teams for their own longstanding commitment to success and we will continue to invest in our American manufacturing capability in the coming years.”

The company said it will welcome U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson to its South Union Street Novacel Inc. plant for a tour. Novacel Performance Coatings is a brand of Chargeurs Protective Films. Davidson’s office said he will visit the plant Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson talks with National Guard officials before the annual Military Appreciation Luncheon in 2017. Bill Lackey/Staff

“I love seeing this growth in manufacturing in Southwest Ohio,” Davidson, R-Troy, said in the release. “As we’ve seen this year, keeping production inside the U.S. isn’t just important for the economy, it is critical to our national security."

Chargeurs said its Troy production lines can produce up to 2.5 million masks a month and will increase its capacity in coming months. The company said it also aims to make masks that meet the requirements of US military and government contracts by year’s end.

“Reshoring production of PPE items like masks is critical to prevent a repeat of the supply chain breakdown that caused major shortages earlier this year,” said Mark McCormick, manufacturing growth specialist at Fastlane, the Dayton area’s manufacturing extension partnership. “The investment that Chargeurs is making in Troy will help to ensure that Americans have the PPE they need while also creating additional jobs for our region.”

Chargeurs is a France-based, family-owned business operating in technical and performance textiles for the apparel and fashion industry, surface protection solutions and business services and fabrication for the museum, cultural and entertainment sectors.

Beyond its investment in the facility in Troy (formerly known as Troy Laminating & Coating), Chargeurs said it has invested in plants in New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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