Lion Nathan has moved to calm speculation that major stakeholder Kirin Brewery is planning to up its stake in the company.

Speaking to Reuters earlier today (9 March), Kirin's president, Kazuyasu Kato, said that the company was keen to increase its holding in Lion Nathan , but that no timing had been set. "Their business is attractive, and we would consider (raising the stake) when the time is right," Kato said.

"We do not intend to launch a hostile takeover," he added.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, also yesterday, Lion Nathan said that it had been told by Kirin that it had no immediate plans to raise its stake.

"Lion Nathan understands that Kirin is extremely pleased with its investment in Lion Nathan, and ... has confirmed that it currently has no intention of increasing its stake in Lion Nathan, which stands at 46% of issued share capital," the statement said.

Lion Nathan spent the best part of last year trying to acquire Australian family-owned brewer Coopers.

The bid looked to have been defeated when Coopers shareholders voted to strip Lion of its pre-emptive rights, effectively blocking it from buying any shares.

However, Lion refused to give up the ghost and left its offer on the table extending the deadline on the bid to 20 March.