British investment fund Marwyn Management Partners (MMP) is in exclusive talks to buy Le Chameau, the French-based producer of high-end countrywear including rubber boots, footwear and apparel.

Le Chameau is currently owned by Paris-listed group Lafuma SA, which says the sale is part of plans to focus its business on the outdoor sport market, including boardsports and mountaineering. It also hopes to focus the growth of its four remaining brands - Lafuma, Millet, Eider and Oxbow - in Asia and China.

The two companies say the acquisition is still subject to consultation between Lafuma and its employees, as is standard under French regulations. But MMP, which is funding the deal through existing cash resources, says it could be concluded within four to six weeks.

"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to acquire Le Chameau," says Mark Watts, executive director of MMP.

"Le Chameau is a brand with an exceptional heritage and product of the very highest quality. We look forward to progressing the transaction to completion in the coming weeks and then helping to grow the business and develop it as a truly international luxury brand."

Le Chameau employs 99 people in France and 188 in Morocco, and achieved net sales of EUR24m (US$31m) in its last financial year.

 "In a growing and very competitive market, we chose to reinforce our synergies to keep on innovating in order to increase our presence in Europe and develop our business in Asia," adds Philippe Joffard, Lafuma's CEO.