Carlsberg has dismissed Scottish & Newcastle's claims over ownership of joint venture Baltic Beverages Holding as "misguided".

The Danish brewer was responding to today's (8 January) submission by S&N to the Arbitral Tribunal of Stockholm, which is to rule on whether S&N has fair claim over Carlsberg's stake in BBH.

"It is now very clear that the claims are frivolous and have absolutely no merit," Carlsberg said this afternoon. "Pripps-Ringnes (Carlsberg's subsidiary which holds 50% of BBH) will now therefore shortly request the arbitration tribunal to dismiss Hartwall's (S&N's unit which holds the other 50% of BBH) case for being totally unfounded and to constitute a misuse of the arbitration process."

Carlsberg countered S&N's suggestion that it had breached the Shareholders Agreement between the two regarding BBH, claiming that S&N had not demonstrated the existence of any breach. "Furthermore," Carlsberg noted, "Hartwall has not terminated the shareholders agreement which is an undisputed fact. Today's repetition of previously reported claims alleging misuse of confidential information and breach of loyalty adds nothing new in that respect."

The Danish brewer then went on to question S&N's claim that it had circumvented the 'shotgun' clause in their agreement. "The shotgun gives Pripps-Ringnes and Hartwall the right to exit the BBH agreement if either party so wishes by offering its shares to the other party," Carlsberg said. "It is up to Pripps-Ringnes or Hartwall whether it exercises this right. Neither has done this and accordingly, the shotgun clause has no current application."

"We've seen nothing new of substance today," said Carlsberg's CEO and president, Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen. "S&N continues to progress with a case that has absolutely no merit instead of focusing on the certainty of the cash value of the consortium's proposal, which is the only deliverable means of maximising value for S&N's shareholders today."