One year ago, Salewa Oberalp announced the acquisition of Pomoca, the Swiss manufacturer of mountaineering skins, which is now completely integrated into the group. At a press conference at Ispo, the Italian family-owned company announced its acquisition of Wild Country, a British producer of safety harnesses and other climbing gear.

Salewa approached Wild Country eight months ago to use its factory in China to perform quality control on its carabiners. Salewa will use the company's head office in the U.K. to sell its footwear and other products in the country. Martin Atkinson, who was involved in the foundation of Wild Country in Derbyshire in 1977, will continue to lead the brand.

Wild Country achieved global recognition by developing the so-called “Friend,” a revolutionary cam for rock climbing developed by a climber from the U.K., Mark Vallance, and an American climber, Ray Jardine. The company diversified later into harnesses. It also produced tents for a while, but it went out of that business later on.

Wild Country will contribute an annual turnover of around £3.4 million, or €4 million, to the Salewa Group, whose total sales increased by 6 percent to €175 million in 2011. They are expected to grow by another 3 percent this year, in spite of the recent poor snow situation. Dynafit's sales soared by 37 percent to €42 million in 2011. Salewa's total sales of footwear jumped to €30 million from €20 million in the previous year and are expected to hit €35 million in 2012.