Scottish & Newcastle and Carlsberg have been advised of an expected conclusion date for the arbitration process regarding ownership of their Eastern European joint venture.

The two brewers confirmed today (3 January) that The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has written to both parties, confirming that a decision should be reached early this summer.

Last year, Carlsberg teamed up with Heineken to look at making a takeover push for Scottish & Newcastle. The UK-based brewer subsequently claimed that Carlsberg had breached the shareholder agreement regarding their Baltic Beverages Holding joint venture. S&N claims that Carlsberg's movements mean that it now has the right to buy Carlsberg's stake in BBH, a claim that Carlsberg has dismissed.

"The final award shall be made by 3 July, 2008," the letter from the institute concluded. While both S&N and Carlsberg have welcomed the letter, Carlsberg has claimed that "the standard timetable is routinely extended and in practice cases of this nature typically take in excess of 12 months to reach a conclusion". The final decision is not open to appeal.

Last month, the UK Takeover Panel said that Carlsberg and Heineken have until 21 January to make a formal offer for S&N. Should the European brewers not make a formal offer, then thereafter, neither Carlsberg nor Heineken would be permitted to make a bid for six months.