Lifestyle apparel brand Hot Tuna has announced the acquisition of its Australian licensee Hot Tuna Holdings Pty Ltd from MCU Pty Ltd.

Hot Tuna will issue 400,000 shares to MCU in exchange for the licensee.

Hot tuna chairman Ranjit Murugason said: "The acquisition of Hot Tuna Holdings…continues our strategy of gaining direct ownership over the Hot Tuna brand in key global markets.

"The company is now in a position where it owns the brand in all its key markets. The Australian and New Zealand markets, where Hot Tuna has a strong following, represent excellent opportunities to further develop Hot Tuna's brand."

The company also said it has set up a new company called Hot Tuna Australia Pty Ltd (Hot Tuna Australia) as part of its strategy to strengthen its Australian operations. Hot Tuna has appointed Dean Harrigan as the COO of the new company.

Harrigan founded surf and street wear distributor Liquid Culture in 1988. He said of Hot Tuna Australia: "We have developed a very commercial line that will be launched into the high-end surf market in summer 2006.

"The philosophy is simple: higher margins to retailers, competitive pricing to the major surf brands."

In addition, Chris Dewbury has been appointed COO of Hot Tuna UK Limited. Dewbury will be responsible for re-establishing the Hot Tuna brand in the UK and will have a key role in implementing the global business and brand development strategy for driving sales.

Dewbury has in the past worked for Quiksilver and was recently sales director at Musto.