The Danish brewer Carlsberg has been hit with a claim for damages from its former partner in Thailand for US$500m, the company said today.

On 27 August 2003 Carlsberg terminated its licence agreement with Carlsberg Brewery (Thailand) Company Limited (CBTL) accusing CBTL of failing to perform its contractual obligations, not least the payment of royalties which were due under the licence. 

CBTL is owned by Carlsberg's former partner in Asia, Khun Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. 

CBTL has now commenced an arbitration in Bangkok against Carlsberg and has sent the Danish company a Statement of Claim, which states that the notice of termination was invalid. CBTL is also claiming damages for a wide range of losses in amounts "to be established", but which are expressed to be for a sum of no less than US$500m.

"Carlsberg and its external lawyers are convinced that CBTL's allegations are without any merit, that the termination of the licence is lawful and that no damages are payable by Carlsberg," Calrsberg said in a statement.

It added: "Furthermore, Carlsberg considers that the figure of US$500m is wholly unrealistic and lacks any factual basis. Only very limited volumes of Carlsberg beer were sold in Thailand in recent years.  In the light of existing arbitration between Khun Charoen/Chang Beverages and Carlsberg in London, Carlsberg believes that the inclusion of such a figure in the Statement of Claim is no more than a tactic."