SABMiller has entered into an agreement with the UB Group to market the Indian company's whisky brand Royal Challenge. UB Group will, in turn, gain marketing rights for the SABMiller-owned Haywards spirits business.

The two companies, arch rivals in the Indian beer market, will both benefit from the deal, with SABMiller using Royal Challenge to market a new beer of the same name, and UB strengthening its spirits presence.

Separately, in a bid to further strengthen its spirits arm, UB Group is looking to rope in an international spirits company for its proposed consolidated spirit business company, United Spirits. The unit has been formed through the merger of the UB-owned companies McDowell and Shaw Wallace.

The group is looking at the proposed international tie-up as a two-way channel under which Indian brands may be launched in international markets while foreign brands can be imported in India.

At present, United Breweries has a similar tie-up with Scottish & Newcastle for its beer business.