The UK's largest brewer Scottish & Newcastle said today that it had launched a bid for Finnish brewery group Hartwall PLC. The all-share offer values the Finnish company at €2 billion (US$1.8 billion). 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.