Interbrew finally received some good news over its proposed merger with the Latin American beer giant Ambev yesterday, when Brazilian antitrust authorities suggested the deal would get clearance. However, no formal decision has been taken and the deal is still under review.

The president of Brazil's Administrative Council of Economic Defense (Cade) Joao Grandino Rodas, said yesterday that there appeared to be no competition problems from the union.

Speaking at a Congressional hearing on the protection of consumer rights, he said: "As Interbrew does not take part in the Brazilian market, there would be no competition problem. It's a new entrant."

That said, Cade is still looking at whether the Interbrew/Ambev deal would limit future competition.

Interbrew and AmBev agreed in March to merge operations to create InterbrewAmbev, the world's No.1 brewer by volume.

However, the plans have been under attack, firstly from the Mexican brewer Femsa, in which Interbrew holds a minority stake, then more recently from Brazil's second largest brewer and fierce Ambev rival Schincariol.

Schincariol filed a request with Brazilian antitrust authorities asking them to suspend the deal because it would hurt competition in Brazil.