Brewer Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) has confirmed the completed set-up of an arbitration panel charged with resolving its dispute with rival Carlsberg.
In a statement today the Edinburgh-based company, whose brands include Fosters, Kronenbourg 1664 and John Smith's, stressed its belief the matter would be resolved by the end of June 2008.
S&N has begun the arbitration proceedings in order to force Carlsberg to surrender its stake in the joint venture the two companies currently operate in the Baltic states.
The former insists Danish brewer Carlsberg breached the terms of their ownership agreement concerning Baltic Beverages Holdings (BBH) by making a joint bid for S&N with competitor Heineken.
Last month S&N rejected a second 750p-a-share offer made by the two companies as "wholly inadequate".
Its row with Carlsberg over the future of BBH is significant as the business controls Russia's largest beer company, Baltika and generates significant profits for both of its owners.
This morning S&N revealed it was nearer to settling the dispute, confirming the appointment of a chairman to the arbitration panel which will oversee the case.
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) is to rule on the matter, with the BBH agreement between S&N and Carlsberg having been drafted under Swedish law.
Both companies have already appointed their own arbitrators in the dispute, with S&N revealing it intends to submit the details of its claim to the fully constituted arbitrational panel shortly.
"The board of S&N continues to be confident that the arbitral tribunal will confirm its claims under the BBH shareholders' agreement and that S&N will therefore have the opportunity to take control of BBH and hence maximise value for shareholders," the brewer stressed.