According to internal press reports, the Belarussian government has taken one step further in bringing to an end the dispute over the sale of its Minsk-based Krynitsa brewery to Baltika.

The government has apparently now sent a draft investment agreement to Baltika, which will see the state hand over to a 50% plus one share to Baltika in Krynitsa in three stages. The first stage will see Baltika receive a 30% stake in return for US$11.15m as a long-term credit and $13.35m as payment for an additional share issue by the Minsk brewery.

Baltika will then see its holding raised to 37.9%, with total investments in the brewery reaching about $50m.

The final stage will only be completed only after the brewery attains its design capacity. The Belarussian government will have 25% in Krynitsa.

Under the terms of the investment agreement Baltika will also have to lend the Belarussian farm sector $2m annually for the next three years, increasing to $5m annually after 2005, the local press reported.