European buyout firm Lion Capital is close to a purchase of away with the Dutch department-store chain Hema for an estimated €1.1bn (£745m). Sunday Times

The retailer has about 300 outlets across the Netherlands and more than 50 in Belgium. It also has a presence in Germany and Luxembourg.

The business is being sold by Maxeda, a private equity-backed retail conglomerate headed by Tony DeNunzio, the former chief executive of ASDA.

Hema is a household name in the Netherlands and has a store in almost every town, selling a mixture of clothing, food and domestic goods. Last year it generated sales of €1.3bn.