Surfwear maker Billabong International Ltd has acquired Hawaiian apparel brand Honolua Surf Company for an estimated US$15 million.

Honolua, which operates a 19-store retail network throughout Hawaii and Las Vegas, has been described by Billabong CEO Derek O'Neill as an emerging brand with significant potential.

"This is an attractive acquisition for us because it slots so readily into our existing base of skills and experience," he said.

"The brand fits neatly within the surf-based lifestyle culture of Billabong and we anticipate the bulk of its market will come from the 25 to 45 age customers.

"We also see important opportunities to further expand Honolua Surf Company through our existing international distribution network."

Billabong has a long-established relationship with Honolua, supplying the largest percentage of non-Honolua-branded apparel to the Hawaiian company's retail network.

The acquisition will be funded by debt and paid in two instalments, with the first payment to be 75 per cent of the agreed purchase price, and the second payment to be 25 per cent of the initial purchase price plus an incentive-based payment calculated on the increase in retail profits over a three-year period.

The eventual purchase price is expected to fall between US$10m and US$15m.