Dutch lingerie chain Hunkemöller has been sold to private equity business PAI.

Hunkemöller, which is part of Dutch retail group Maxeda, has been bought subject to approval from trade unions and competition authorities.

The transaction is set to be completed in early 2011. It is the latest in a string of deals by Maxeda which sold its luxury department store chain de Bijenkorf to Selfridges Group last week and its V&D department store chain to Sun Capital Group earlier in the year.

Hunkemöller has 500 stores worldwide and is a leading retailer in the Benelux region and in Germany. It has a growing franchise network and expanding ecommerce platform.

Maxeda said in a statement: “Hunkemöller has demonstrated a strong track record of growth and profitability with support from Maxeda and with significant expansion potential has a clear strategy to drive future growth and margins.”

PAI has investments in retailers including Italian department store chain Coin, French business Vivarte which has a stake in Kookai and Spanish retail giant Cortefiel.

Hunkemöller chief executive Philip Mountford, who joined the lingerie chain in February last year after leaving menswear group Moss Bros where he was chief executive, said: “Hunkemöller has grown year on year over the last ten years and it is now ready to further accelerate its growth strategy.

“PAI endorses and supports our plans and believes strongly in our strategy and the ability of our team to achieve our long term vision.”

Michel Paris, head of retail at PAI partners, said: “We have been very impressed by the strong market position of Hunkemöller in the Benelux as well as the growth opportunity in Germany and other European countries.”

He added: “We are very excited to back Philip Mountford and his team and to grow Hunkemöller to become the leading vertically integrated lingerie retailer in Europe.”