The investment bank, ABN Amro, has reduced its rating on the leading UK brewer, Scottish & Newcastle (S&N), from "hold" to "reduce".

Meanwhile, WestLB Panmure has recommended investors switch out of Danish-based brewer, Carlsberg, and into S&N. The bank retained its "outperform" rating on S&N shares and its price target of 405p.

"We recommend selling Carlsberg as there's significant headroom for missing the 2003 forecasts," Stuart Price, analyst at Panmure, said in a research note.

Price added that S&N had strategic options and was a possible takeover target. "We believe that, within the context of the consolidation of the global brewing industry, S&N looks like a sitting duck and a value investment," he said.