Finnish state-owned alcohol company Altia Corporation is not big enough to buy Swedish drinks giant Vin & Sprit but could be interested if the company is broken up into parts, according to chief executive Antti Pankakoski.

Pankakoski, only in the job for three months, told Swedish-language newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet today (10 January) that Altia would wait to see who buys the soon-to-be privatised Swedish group - which includes the Absolut vodka brand - before deciding on its next move.

Altia's Koskenkorva vodka, Finland's best-selling spirit, could spearhead the company's drive to be the leading alcohol company in the Nordic and Baltic region by 2009 and in northern Europe by 2011. Altia would grow organically in Scandinavia before it starts to think about takeover targets, Pankakoski said.

"This sector is all about branding and building up a brand. I see great possibilities in creating bigger value from the iconic Finnish Koskenkorva and expanding them," he said.