Fortune Brands appears to be upping its profile in the impending race to acquire Sweden's Vin & Sprit.

The head of Fortune is reported to have visited Sweden recently, to meet "key persons in the sale process". Norm Wesley, the company's chairman and CEO was in the country last week, local business paper Dagens Industri has claimed.

"We have cooperated for a long time with Vin & Sprit," the paper cited Wesley as saying. "It would be a natural and logical step after our close cooperation if we bought Vin & Sprit."

The two companies operate together in the US, with Fortune's drinks arm, Beam Global Spirits & Wine, running the distribution of V&S's Absolut vodka brand.

"Absolut would be our biggest brand. But we are also very interested in other brands in Vin & Sprit's portfolio, such as Plymouth Gin and Cruzan Rum. We have the financial flexibility to buy all or parts of Vin & Sprit, depending on how the Swedish government decides to do the sale," Wesley was cited saying.

"We would just continue to develop Vin & Sprit together with the current competent management. Brands like Absolut are built over a long time and it would just be stupid to try to change the brand's Swedish profile or to move production."

Among the other companies thought to be in the running are Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi. The sale is expected to go through at some point in the next 12 months.