The Swedish authorities have warned that the current turbulence on global markets could slow the sale of Vin & Sprit.

Speaking on Swedish radio yesterday (22 January), the country's Financial Markets Minister, Mats Odell, said that the Government would consider postponing the privatisation of the state-owned drinks company "if we feel the price is too low".

Among the front runners to buy V&S are Fortune Brands, Pernod Ricard, Diageo and Bacardi.

Indicative bids for the company, which owns the Absolut vodka brand, are expected this week.

"Once we have seen the end of that process we have the ability to put on the brake if necessary, if we feel the price is too low," Odell said on Swedish radio. "If that is the case, we wait for a better time."

Speaking to Reuters after the interview, however, Odell played down the threat presented by stock market fluctuations. "In times of bourse turbulence, it is a matter of keeping calm and continuing our process of careful analysis," he said. "In terms of companies that are in an active selling phase, these stock market developments have a small effect."

"We will evaluate the indicative bids carefully, and we will sell when we get a price which represents the long-term value of the company," Odell concluded.