THE planned opening of a new factory in Newport will bring 54 jobs to the city, its buyer has announced.

Knauf has reached an agreement with Gypfor for the purchase of a new plasterboard factory at the city's port.

It is expected to be up and running early next year.

Knauf described the planned new site as "state of the art" and its location will allow gypsum - the chief component of plasterboard - to be offloaded directly.

"This new plant will significantly increase our ability to service customers throughout the UK, and particularly those in South Wales, the Midlands and the south-west of England," said Knauf UK managing director, Ian Stokes.

"It is a very exciting move for Knauf and, following recent investment in increasing the capacity of Knauf Insulation, reflects the confidence of the Knauf Group in the UK construction sector.”

Construction work is under way for the new facility and commissioning is due to begin later this year.

Knauf said the factory would create 54 local jobs when it is fully operational in early 2023.

The Newport site will manufacture "a broad range of gypsum boards" and will run alongside Knauf's existing plants in Immingham and Sittingbourne.

The company said its new factory will also use renewable energy, including that from wind and solar power.