Carlsberg has refused to be drawn on speculation that it is to buy a majority stake in Parag Breweries in India.

The brewer, which acquired its first brewery in the country in May through its joint venture South Asia Breweries, is reportedly preparing to acquire a 60% share of West Bengal-based Parag. The stake will cost South Asia Breweries, which Carlsberg operates with Sri Lanka's Lion Brewery Ceylon, in the region of INR320m (US$7.9m), local reports claimed last week.

When contacted by just-drinks today (17 September), however, a spokesperson for Carlsberg declined to comment on the reports. "We never disclose our plans or intentions to buy or sell until a transaction is done," the spokesperson said.

In June, Carlsberg announced plans to launch its Eastern European beer brand Okocim Palone in the country. The 5.5% abv beer will be positioned as a strong beer, going up against the likes of UB's Kingfisher Strong and SABMiller's Haywards 500.