Basic apparel maker HanesBrands is expanding the reach of its Champion activewear brand in the eastern hemisphere after buying TNF Group Pty Ltd, a major activewear supplier serving leading Australian sportswear retailers, for US$9m.

TNF already sells HanesBrands’ Champion activewear products in Australia and New Zealand under a license and distribution agreement. And the acquisition will not only expand HanesBrands into the outerwear segment in Australia, but also complements its Playtex intimate apparel and emerging Hanes basic comfort apparel businesses there.

Established in 2002, TNF Group’s activewear sales last year were around US$20m, including the licensed Champion sales. It also sells the Leluu, Performax, and Track N Field brands to sports and retail stores and supplies custom sports clothing to Australian private schools.

Around 60 employees, mainly in sales, service, production, administration and distribution, will join HanesBrands, and management will remain in place at offices in Scoresby, Victoria.

“We are excited to add the TNF business and team to create significant growth opportunities in Australia and New Zealand,” says Gerald Evans, co-operating officer and president of international businesses for HanesBrands.

International revenues accounted for 12% of HanesBrands’ total sales last year, and the company expects to see international sales growth in the high teens or better in 2011.

Its international strategy is to focus on the core basic apparel, intimate apparel and activewear categories using its global brands like Hanes, Wonderbra, Playtex and Champion. The Champion activewear brand is already established in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.

“Our accelerating international growth is duplicating our success in the United States by increasing market share through strong consumer brands in core categories supported by our low-cost global supply chain,” said Hanes chairman and chief executive officer Richard Noll. “This model should allow us to sustain substantial International growth for years.”

The acquisition will not materially affect HanesBrands’ 2011 guidance for total sales of between $4.9bn and $5bn and earnings of $2.70 to $2.90 per share.