Carlsberg has won approval from the Danish authorities to amend its charter.

The green light, granted by the country's Ministry of Justice/Civil Affairs yesterday (15 May), allows leading shareholder the Carlsberg Foundation to dilute its stake in the brewer, whilst maintaining control of voting rights. The Foundation currently holds 51.3% share capital but can now lower this to 25%, thereby freeing up around DKK45bn (US$8.23bn) in new capital.

At the same time, however, the Foundation will still hold at least 51% of the voting control.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Carlsberg said: "Now, nothing happens. This is an opportunity, not an obligation.

"We have no concrete package to buy or sell anything at this time."

Speculation had suggested that the move may lead to a bid for Scottish & Newcastle's 50% stake in its Eastern European joint-venture with Carlsberg. The Danish brewer warned, however, that a "Russian roulette" clause in the agreement made such a move unlikely.

"If we were to bid for S&N's stake in Baltic Beverages Holding and they were to say no," the spokesperson said, "then we would be obliged to sell our stake to them at the same price. The risk is, if you put an offer in that is too low, then they would be able to buy our stake very cheaply. The alternative is to put in a bid that is very expensive for what you are buying."