William Baird on Thursday said it has agreed to sell its Lowe Alpine active outdoor sportswear business to Aspen for £13.45 million.

Proceeds from the deal will be used to reduce borrowings, William Baird said in a statement, adding that it now plans to focus on its core women's wear brands Windsmoor, Precis Petite and Planet.

For the 13 months ended 2 February 2002, Lowe Alpine had sales of £29.8 million and an operating loss of £7.5 million. This was after an exceptional loss of £4.1 million relating to the redundancy and closure costs of Lowe Alpine's Irish factory.

William Baird says discussions over the disposal of its other active and casualwear businesses, Melka and Tenson, is proceeding.

Likewise, talks over an improved takeover bid by Jacques Vert are continuing. At present, though, William Baird says the current offer from the group does not reflect the true value of the business.

The company has also received a dividend of £3.0 million from its investment in Micropore, a fabric manufactured from 100% viscose, coated with a layer of an acrylic adhesive.