Carlsberg has played down reports that it has backed out of the auction for Vin & Sprit.

The Danish brewer said last week that it was "considering" its position on the pending sales process. But local reports yesterday (20 December) claimed that the company has given up plans to bid in the auction for the Swedish state-owned drinks company.

A report in Danish daily Jyllands Posten said yesterday that Carlsberg has not been contacted by the Swedish government yet. The country's financial markets minister, Mats Odell, has reportedly sent over 30 letters to companies that the Government believes would be interested in acquiring V&S.

When contacted by just-drinks today, however, a spokesperson for Carlsberg confirmed that the brewer had not received one of the letters, but quelled speculation suggesting that this meant Carlsberg was no longer interested in V&S.

"Nothing has changed since we last talked," the spokesperson said. Last week, the spokesperson told just-drinks: "We are still considering whether some parts of Vin & Sprit might be interesting for Carlsberg."

The spokesperson today continued: "We don't know if the letters have been sent out yet. The journalist jumped to his own conclusion on the matter."

Other parties thought to be interested in V&S include Bacardi, Diageo, Fortune Brands and Pernod Ricard. No-one was immediately available at Diageo or Pernod to confirm whether they had received their letters or not, when contacted by just-drinks today.