Leading UK brewer, Scottish & Newcastle reported today that it was trading in line with its expectations.

Saying that it was confident of the outlook for the enlarged group, S&N said trading in all divisions had continued to be in line with the board's hopes since 4 December 2001.
The brewer also said today that it had officially launched its exchange offer to shareholders in its Finnish takeover target Hartwall. The offer will run to May 28, unless the offer is extended. S&N announced the €2.1billion takeover offer in February.
The Hartwell board has recommended that shareholders except S&N's offer of 3.152 new shares for each series-A and series-K shares in Hartwall.

Hartwall is Finland's leading beer producer and an important soft drink company, but importantly holds half the shares in Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), a high growth joint venture with Carlsberg Breweries operating in Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Ukraine.

The new business will be a market leader in seven European countries, with sales totalling around €7.4 billion and control three of the continent's top ten beer brands Kronenbourg, Foster's and Baltika.

The takeover has already been approved by the European competition authorities.