Scottish & Newcastle has claimed that it is now in a position to take full control of Baltic Beverages Holding, its Eastern European joint brewing venture with Carlsberg.

The Danish brewer, meanwhile, has said today (24 October) that a letter it has received from S&N alleging breaches of the shareholders agreement between Oy Hartwall and Pripps, which governs BBH, has "no merit".

S&N, however, believes that Carlsberg is now "obliged to offer its shares in BBH to S&N".

Last week, Carlsberg confirmed that it is in talks with Heineken to make a bid for, and break up, S&N, with Carlsberg hoping to take control of BBH.

"Given the breaches of the agreement by Carlsberg and their serious implications for BBH, the board of S&N has felt compelled to respond swiftly to protect its position and to capture the full value of BBH for the benefit of S&N's shareholders," S&N said.

"The board is still evaluating whether the best interests of S&N shareholders will ultimately be served by outright ownership of BBH or through the introduction of a new partner(s) into BBH."

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Carlsberg declined to elaborate further on the information included in the letter from S&N. "We have done our utmost to keep our statement (regarding the letter) as short and as detailed as possible," the spokesperson said.

"Why use a lot of words when a few will do?"