Asian private equity fund Unitas Capital is investing US$162.4m to buy a "significant minority stake" in NEPA Company Ltd, Korea's leading outdoor apparel and equipment manufacturer and retailer. 

The deal not only offers it a step into the world's second-largest outdoor apparel and equipment market, but also an opportunity to grow the brand into a global player in the fast-growing outdoor apparel sector.

Hyung Seob Kim, the largest shareholder and CEO of the company, will retain a majority stake and continue to lead the day-to-day domestic operations. Once the transaction is completed, AMH will become the second largest shareholder.

"We were looking for an investor who could not only provide capital but also help us to build NEPA into a global brand," HS Kim said.

Eugene Suh, partner and COO of Unitas Capital, added: "Outdoor apparel is one of the fastest growing sectors globally and Korean outdoor apparel companies have been leaders in both performance technology and design.

"We believe that NEPA is the most exciting brand in the Korean outdoor market and has a tremendous opportunity to become a significant global brand."

Korea is the second largest outdoor market globally with over US$3bn in sales.