Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed the news that Hitachi has agreed to buy Gloucestershire-based nuclear business Horizon for an estimated £700m in a deal which could create thousands of jobs in the county.

The Japanese energy and engineering company announced it would acquire the venture from E.ON and RWE npower, creating up to 12,000 jobs in the country, with around half of those in Gloucestershire.

David Owen, chief executive of GFirst, which drives Gloucestershire LEP, said: “Talks have been under way for some time in relation to Horizon and I am delighted that this is a long-term investment has been announced. It will create much-needed skilled jobs in our county, while also recognising Gloucestershire as a real hub for nuclear excellence.

“The LEP has a project team which will be able to assist Hitachi and ensure Gloucestershire feels the benefit of this scale of investment in one of our local businesses.”