New Zealand-based outdoor apparel company Icebreaker has bought its distributor in Germany, Sweden and Norway from Bradshaw Taylor.

The acquisition was made in return for a multi-year extension of its Icebreaker distributorship in the UK, Denmark and Finland.

Maximilian Hofbauer has been named general manager of the new company, called Icebreaker Pure Merino GmbH.

Hofbauer has spent the past nine years as general manager for The North Face in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The new firm will be based in Starnberg, Germany and will begin by selling Icebreaker's new autumn/winter 2009 apparel and accessories.

Icebreaker, which primarily sells merino technical outdoor apparel, said its sales in Europe are showing year-on-year growth of 70%.

In August it purchased its France/Switzerland distributor, Rockline Nature Zone, opening an Eastern European sales and marketing office in the Czech Republic.