TORFAEN councillors have welcomed the news that a Cwmbran procurement centre is to double its workforce from 68 to 136 over the next five years.

Proxima, Europe's biggest procurement company working for the likes of British Airways, Kraft and Warburtons, is expanding its Llantarnam Park base into a procurement hub, negotiating security, marketing and I.T. contracts for companies in the UK, US and Europe.

Mark Young, director of global shared services for the 250-employee company, explained that the Cwmbran office was set up in September 2009 after an extensive search of the UK, and was chosen for the area's educated workforce.

The company's original six-strong staff grew to 68, with support from Welsh Government, but this figure is due to double over the next five years thanks to more Welsh Government business finance.

Cllr David Daniels, ward member for Llantarnam, said he was "incredibly pleased" that Proxima chose Llantarnam Park for expansion.

"In addition to the new employment this investment will bring, it’ll also serve as a prime example of business realising what fantastic benefits our area has to offer," he said.

"The support Welsh Government has provided towards securing this investment has been incredibly important and should be commended.”

Cwmbran is a "critical part" of Proxima's operating model, said Mr Young, adding that the company may need to acquire a new building in the same area to accommodate the extra staff.

"The Welsh Government is helping us financially and we are a partner of choice for them as well as educational institutions like the University of South Wales, where we have a very active intern and graduate programme."

Cwmbran staff work with companies like Universal Music Group, Activision Blizzard and Morrisons supermarket, and can expect to see their teams of analytics, market research, customer relationship management and professional procurement staff double over the next five years and grow by 10 to 15 per cent depending on revenue year on year after that.

Cllr Mandy Owen, ward member for Greenmeadow, welcomed the news.

"It's lovely to have firms providing jobs for local people and giving them the opportunity," she said. "Hopefully they will put some training opportunities in place as well giving apprentices a job and some more jobs too. We have definitely got the facilities here, from industrial estates to office buildings, and we're close to universities."

Wales' economy minister, Edwina Hart said Proxima had considered another location for the expansion.

Ian Thompson, director of procurement operations described the support from Welsh Government as "very valuable" and praised the Cwmbran office for its strong track record of delivery for clients in the UK and abroad.