CL World Brands have quashed reports in India that the company is in talks over a possible joint venture with local firm John Distillers (JDL).

Yorick Fonseca, CL World Brands business development director for the Indian market, told just-drinks today (2 April) that the company has "never" been in negotiations with JDL.

"This story has come out of nowhere," Fonseca said. "We are currently focused mainly on our bottled-in-origin business in India. All options regarding local manufacturing or bottling remain on the table."

Last October, CL shelved plans to form a manufacturing joint venture in India with local spirits group Tilaknagar Distilleries & Industries.

CL, which boasts a spirits stable including Angostura rum and Sobieski vodka has put the plans on hold after undertaking due diligence of the company.

The company has its sights on becoming one of the world's top 10 spirits producers, an ambition it stated when it bought a controlling stake in French vodka producer Belvedere in 2005.

Last year, the company launched a series of spirits brands in India as part of its assault on the top-end bottled-in-origin sector. Brands in the category are mainly sold in India's top hotels, which enjoy a tax break from the Indian government.

CL sells brands including its range of rums, Hine Cognac and Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, in India.

Those brands are imported and distributed by the company's local partner, Bombay-based SV Distributors.