THE announcement that one of the world's leading packaging companies has bought the site it has called home for almost 50 years has been applauded as 'a fantastic show of support in the community'.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns visited Smurfit Kappa's Abercarn factory yesterday, Thursday, following the announcement the packaging company had bought the site for £2.8 million.

Although the company, one of the world's top packaging manufacturers, has been operating from the site for 48 years, it has now bought it outright, which Mr Cairns applauded as "a fantastic show of support for the community".

"This part of the world has seen many ups and downs over the past decades, but I am hugely impressed with the pedigree of having been here for 48 years," he said.

"Continuing to invest shows what can be done."

He added: "If they didn't have a commitment to the community and the workforce, and to innovation and make money, they're not going to buy the site.

This shows the confidence they have in it.

"It's only profitable businesses which have a sustainable future and buying the site is a great demonstration of their confidence in a profitable future.

"They are competing with other people and they need to take decisions which they believe are the right thing to do."

Mr Cairns also applauded the company as "one of south Wales' great manufacturing success stories".

“Their continued growth has been a strong driver for the overall strength of the private sector here in Wales," he said.

“The UK Government will do all it can to support the sector as we aim to establish ourselves as a world class hub of manufacturing excellence and leading experts in the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle solutions.”

The company's chief executive Clive Bowers said the investment showed Brexit had not hurt Smurfit Kappa's faith in the UK as a place to do business.

He said: "Why cant we say the glass is half full?

"We are investing significant sums of money, not just in Abercarn.

"If we didn't have faith in the UK we wouldn't be doing that.

"There is a lot of work to be done, but we need to get on with it."

He added: "This investment highlights our commitment to the future of our business at Abercarn and our support to the Welsh economy”.

Smurfit Kappa employs 45,000 people across 370 sites in 35 countries.