Struggling British surf wear firm Hot Tuna (International) Plc , which has been bleeding money for the last five years, plans to sell its namesake brand, a move that would also see the departure of its top executives.

The company, which sells shorts, t-shirts, swimwear and surfing gear with its distinctive piranha and bull head logos in the UK, United States and Australia, has been struggling to raise funds to expand the brand in new international markets.

In light of current trading being below budget ... it would be difficult for the company to raise new investment from existing shareholders for the development and promotion of the Hot Tuna brand, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Hot Tuna, which had last raised 1 million pounds through a share sale earlier this year, has seen its shares get decimated since they debuted on London's AIM in 2005 at 61.5 pence. On Monday, they closed down 9 percent at 0.07 pence.

British companies are reeling under tough economic conditions and household names such as Focus DIY, Oddbins and Habitat UK have gone into administration as shoppers cut back amid rising prices and subdued wage growth.

Hot Tuna, which was founded as an apparel company by a surfer and his fashion designer wife in Australia in 1969, said its chairman, chief executive and brand director would step down from the board after the deal.

We will go with the brand, Francis Ball, who was appointed as Hot Tuna's chairman last month, told Reuters by telephone.

Hot Tuna (International) will remain as a cash shell ... no doubt they will have to change their name.

Ball refused to name potential buyers of the brand or indicate the deal size.

Discussions take place from time to time but I have had no written proposal or written offer at this stage, he said.

London-headquartered Hot Tuna expects a 65 percent rise in sales for the first four months of its new fiscal year, the company said in a statement.

It expects narrower losses for the year ended June 30, helped by cost cuts.

(Reporting by Tresa Sherin Morera in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)