A medical supplies distributor is set to create 45 new jobs in the region when it opens a new warehouse.

Williams Medical Supplies, headquartered at Rhymney, Caerphilly, has upgraded its warehouse capacity from 15,000 sq ft to 73,000 sq ft with a new warehouse.

The warehouse, purchased with help from an Assembly grant of about £700,000, ties in with the firm's plans for expansion and flotation.

Robin Williams, company founder and chairman, said: "We have offices throughout the UK, but our HQ is located in Rhymney and we are deeply committed to remaining here.

"The jobs we provide cover a broad base, and include the better-paid end of the spectrum. We hope that our presence might encourage other companies to locate to the area."

WMS is the UK's largest distributor of medical supplies such as pharmaceuticals, bandages, gloves and sterile goods to GPs and clinics. It employs 150 at its six offices spread throughout England and Wales.

Mr Williams said the warehouse's enormous capacity has enabled the company to secure significant supply contracts, including a substantial deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Turnover currently tops £33m, and the company aims to increase this to £100m over the next five years.

He added: "The new warehouse facility will also allow us to expand the consumables aspect of the business, as well as improving efficiency, so that our customers will receive the best possible service.

"We are currently considering increasing our office buildings to enable our further expansion and increase local employment prospects."