Vivian Imerman, chairman and chief executive at UK distiller Whyte & Mackay, has quashed reports that he has agreed a deal to sell the company to India's UB Group.

Imerman issued a robust statement after reports over the weekend claimed he had settled on a deal worth GBP550m (US$1.1bn) with UB chairman Vijay Mallya.

"We remain the owners of Whyte and Mackay and are still considering all of our options," Imerman said at the weekend.

"The value of the business increases all the time. The brands are doing really well, the restructuring of our operations that we undertook across the last two years is significantly paying off, and the worldwide demand for Scotch is also having a big positive impact on our profitability. The business has a very strong trajectory."

A report in UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph had said that Imerman and Mallya had agreed on a price for Whyte & Mackay after months of talks.

Talks, which began last October, have stalled on more than one occasion over price. Last month, UB said it had started talks with "alternative parties" after insisting it was unwilling to buy Whyte & Mackay "at any cost".

Just-drinks understands that the two sides remain in talks but that they are edging closer on price. An agreement could be reached within the next three weeks.

UB is understood to be looking to buy 100% of Whyte & Mackay, which owns brands including the eponymous Scotch whisky and Vladivar vodka.

Officials at UB and Whyte & Mackay could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press.