Pernod Ricard has quelled speculation that its talks with Soyuzplodimport have reached an "advanced" stage.

In May, Pernod and the Russian state-owned company opened discussions to settle their dispute.

Soyuzplodoimport owns the Stolichnaya, Moskovskaya and other vodka brands in Russia, while Pernod and Yury Shefler, a major shareholder of Swiss company SPI (also known, confusingly, as Soyuzplodimport), own the rights to distribute the Stolichnaya brand in countries outside Russia. Soyuzplodoimport has been in dispute with SPI on the matter since 2002.

In 2003, the World Intellectual Property Organisation ruled that the Stolichnaya brand, as well as some other famous brands, should belong to Soyuzplodoimport, and not to SPI.

Soyuzplodoimport sold its rights to the brands to SPI in 1997. The vodka trademarks were sold for US$300,000 at the time. The market price for just two brands, Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, was then estimated at US$400m.

French magazine Challenges this week described the discussions as "advanced".

When contacted by just-drinks today (17 November), a spokesperson for Pernod dismissed the report. "There is nothing new to add to our statement released in May," the spokesperson said.

The two sides signed a confidentiality agreement in May, meaning that no announcements will be made until negotiations are concluded.