LOS ANGELES - Eric Von Knipe, a California businessman and entrepreneur, has acquired the Morwear paint brand from Smiland Paint Co. and has formed Morwear Manufacturing Inc.

Von Knipe assumed the positions of president and CEO of Morwear Manufacturing, and said existing employees will be retained. The purchase includes Smiland's production plant in Los Angeles.

The Morwear brand, which dates to 1912, is distributed in 11 western states and also is sold in China and Taiwan. Von Knipe said the company will introduce Morwear Plus, a coating product designed to control and prevent mold and fungus, as the brand's flagship product. Morwear Manufacturing also will continue to manufacture the brand's existing line of interior and exterior coatings, said company spokesman Karli Heineman.

Von Knipe said he plans to expand Morwear's distribution base of independent retailer dealers while seeking national retail outlets for the brand.