* Marwyn in exclusive discussions with France’s Lafuma
* High-end boot maker Le Chameau had sales of 24 mln euros in 2011
* Marwyn hopes to seal a deal within six weeks
LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Marwyn Management Partners PLC said on Tuesday it was in exclusive discussions with Paris-listed group Lafuma to buy Le Chameau SAS, a French manufacturer of high-end rubber boots favoured by the British royals.
Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry have been photographed this year sporting Le Chameau boots, bringing the French brand, founded in 1927 in rainy Normandy, into the fashion pages of glossy magazines.
Le Chameau, whose handcrafted rubber boots sell for up to 699 euros ($900) a pair, posted net sales of 24 million euros in the year to end-Sept 2011.
Marwyn, a British investment fund active in the small and mid-cap markets, said it hoped to reach a purchase agreement with Lafuma, Le Chameau’s parent company, within four to six weeks.
Lafuma was making the disposal as part of its strategy to focus on the outdoor sports market, the French seller of skiwear and camping equipment said in a separate statement.
“Le Chameau is a brand with an exceptional heritage and product of the very highest quality,” Mark Watts, executive director of Marwyn, said.
“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.”
European luxury brands have been expanding rapidly in Asia, to cater for an increasing number of wealthy consumers eager to snap up sophisticated, classic marques.
Le Chameau also designs clothes and accessories for outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and horseback riding.
The acquisition will be funded with existing cash, Marwyn said.