ITS products are familiar to countless sweet-toothed children and adults across the UK, Europe and beyond.

And now Gwent-based confectionery firm Bon Bon Buddies has been confirmed among the private companies in Britain with the fastest-growing international sales.

Based in Oakdale, Bon Bon Buddies is one of only two companies in Wales on the first Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, to be published this weekend.

The company is described as having made a significant contribution to the local economy over the last two years.

Founded by current managing director Chris Howarth in 1993, the firm began exporting branded and novelty confectionery in 2008 and now has eight European sales and warehousing facilities. It exports to more than 40 countries worldwide.

Disney, Toy Story, Winnie The Pooh, Spiderman and Spongebob Squarepants are among the licensed brands on Bon Bon Buddies’ sweets.

Sixty staff are employed at Oakdale, with a further 82 in Europe and in Derbyshire.

International sales were up 30 per cent a year over two years, to £19.2 million in 2011, with total sales that year of almost £37 million.

Mr Howarth said he is pleased to see the company on the Sunday Times list, rubbing shoulders with national brands such as online sports goods retailer Wiggle and clothing group Pentland.