Beer wars to come to a head in Russia

Baltic Beverage Holding, which produces the famous Baltika range of beers, could become a battleground in the takeover war between co-owners Scottish & Newcastle and Carlsberg.

The British brewer says it may seek to take full control of Russia`s largest brewer by buying out Carlsberg's 50% stake or it may seek another partner.

Scottish & Newcastle has held a 50% stake in Baltic Beverage Holding, as has Carlsberg, since 2002. BBH owns 84% of the Baltika Brewery.

The Russian company is one of the most profitable parts of the British brewer's operations, with the $US 10-billion Russian beer market experiencing rapid growth in comparison to its western European markets.

The announcement comes after confirmation by Carlsberg and Heineken that they are planning a joint-takeover of Scottish and Newcastle.

The British brewer says this is a breach of the shareholder agreement.