HARTSVILLE, S.C. - Hartsville-based packaging company Sonoco is buying the German firm Weidenhammer Packaging Group for $383 million.

Sonoco president M. Jack Sanders said Monday the move makes the company a global leader in the composite can market and expands its technological capabilities.

The German firm has about 1,100 employees. It operates 13 production sites, with five in Germany and plants in eight other countries, including the United States.

Sanders says the addition increases Sonoco's international consumer packaging and services annual sales to nearly $3 billion. He says that's just over half of the company's combined revenue. The two companies will employ 21,000 people.