Heineken has distanced itself from speculation that it is looking to take over its partner in Asia, Fraser & Neave.

Reports earlier this week had suggested that the Holland-based brewer was mulling either investing in or acquiring F&N. The two companies together own Asia Pacific Investment, which owns 64.82% of Asia Pacific Breweries. APB has interests in 32 brewery operations in 11 countries in the Asia Pacific region.

Heineken also owns a direct stake of 9.5% in APB, with F&N holding 7.27% separately.

The reports claimed that F&N's board was concerned Heineken might make a move for the conglomerate.

Speaking to just-drinks today (17 October), however, a spokesperson for Heineken played down the speculation, confirming comments made by a separate Heineken spokesperson to the Straits Times in Asia this week.

"We are focused on beer and are one of the world's leading brewing groups, while F&N is a leading diversified conglomerate with a majority of its investments in other businesses," the spokesperson originally told the paper. A takeover of F&N was "neither in line with Heineken's partnership principles nor its investment plan.

"We are entirely happy with the relationship we have with F&N," the spokesperson added. "It has been in force for 75 years and has been highly successful. We see no reason to change this winning and successful formula."

Heineken and F&N jointly formed APB in 1931, but the two companies faced each other in court late last year, when Heineken questioned which company could appoint the regional director for Heineken-APB (China). APB owns a 50% stake in Heineken-APB (China), while Asia Pacific Investment owns the other half. The summons was dismissed by the Singapore High Court, which ruled that a summons was not a suitable way to resolve the situation.