Two of the world's leading brewers, Heineken and Carlsberg, have expressed interest in setting up a joint venture with Bangalore-based Mysore Breweries Ltd.

Sources in at MBL told the Indian-based newspaper Business Standard that representatives of both companies had met top management sometime ago.

Sources said representatives from the Singapore-based subsidiary of Heineken NV, Asia-Pacific Breweries which manufactures the popular Tiger brand, met their officials to discuss the possibility of setting up of a joint venture in India.

Sources also claim Carlsberg was keen to set up a joint venture with MBL. The sticking point, however, is Carlsberg's proposed joint venture with India's UB Group. Representatives of Carlsberg had, reports claim, been informed that talks between the two can be held only if Carlsberg decides to wind up its plans with the UB Group.

Sources said both the beer majors wanted a majority stake in the joint venture though MBL was yet to take a decision on this issue.

Mysore Breweries Ltd had earlier disclosed that it was in talks with a few major beer companies for setting up a joint venture. The stand-alone beer manufacturer had said that the joint venture partner would be offered a stake in MBL's proposed brewery in Andhra Pradesh. MBL plans to launch a series of brands during the next few years and hopes to launch a premium beer through its joint venture.

Company officials said the multinationals were keen to use the large network of outlets available to MBL. The Bangalore-based brewery group has around 10,000 retail outlets in the country.

Mysore Breweries Ltd's flagship brand, Knock Out has a market share of around 53% in Karnataka and half of that in Andhra Pradesh. MBL expects to sell around 5m cases by the end of fiscal 2000-2001.

It recently launched Bengal premium lager. MBL expects to have a turnover of around Rs 100 crore in the next two years from the existing turnover of Rs 85 crore.