ThaiBev has declined to comment on reports out of India that the firm has entered negotiations with Vijay Mallya's United Spirits.

ThaiBev has expressed its interest in buying a stake in United Spirits and has begun preliminary talks with the group, India's Economic Times newspaper said this week.

The Thailand-based drinks group, which owns Chang beer, said today (4 March) that it does not comment on speculation and "will announce any material development on the SGX [Singapore stock exchange] first".

United Spirits, which is part of Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya's UB Group, is already engaged in talks on a stake sale with Diageo.

Mallya was reported as saying last week, however, that the group has several potential suitors.

Diageo CEO Paul Walsh said at the drinks giant's first half results conference last month that talks with United Spirits remained "very preliminary".

just-drinks understands that one of the main sticking points in negotiations is the amount of control Diageo would be allowed to have in any stake sale.