THE news that a steel factory has reopened in Newport and created 120 jobs has been welcomed by figures in politics and business.

We reported yesterday that AIC Steel Limited bought the former Rowecord site and the factory officially reopened with a visit from the Welsh Government’s economy minister Edwina Hart.

And the leader of Newport council Bob Bright said the reopening was “positive” news in tough times.

He said: “Economic conditions are still extremely difficult for businesses but it is positive that this site will be taken over and new quality jobs created by an internationally renowned company.

“This is an exciting time for the city. Newport’s skilled local workforce and enviable transport links with the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond make it an ideal investment location.

“And that’s not to mention the nearly a quarter of a billion that’s already been invested in the city centre, with the Friars Walk scheme progressing, Admiral moving into its new building in a couple of months and the significant funding secured with the vibrant and viable places scheme.”

The president of Newport Chamber of Trade, Alan Edwards, said the reopening was “wonderful” for the city and wider region.

He said: “It’s marvellous. My father in law used to work there before the war and after it; my mother in law used to drive cranes there during the war.

“New jobs for the economy of Newport is wonderful. That is what we need. All that sort of news is good news.”

And Dame Rosemary Butler, the Assembly Member for Newport West, tweeted the announcement was “excellent”.

While Pill councillor Omar Ali said the reopening of the plant was “extremely positive”.

He said: “We do suffer from deprivation and high unemployment in Pill so it’s very welcome the factory has reopened.”

Saudi Arabian-owned AIC will produce steel for major companies in the UK.

The firm is still recruiting staff and hope to take some staff from those who were made redundant when Rowecord collapsed and 430 people lost their jobs in April last year.

At the time, Newport politicians called the collapse of the firm a “body blow” to the city’s economy.

But on Monday Newport West MP Paul Flynn said the factory’s reopening was a potential “turning point” in the city's fortunes.