German brewer Holsten has opened the way for a potential bidding war for a stake in the business after saying yesterday that it was looking for a partner with financial firepower.

Andreas Rost, chief executive of Holsten was today quoted in the UK newspaper the Financial Times as saying: "We cannot afford to just stand by and look at the things happening around us."

He said the company was aiming at a 20% market share in Germany.

Some 48% of the company's stock is held by the US investor Christian Eisenbeiss. But according to the FT report, Eisenbeiss has given the green light for the search for a partner, in order to raise capital to buy domestic and international brewers.