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Brewer S&N Says Trade on Track, Challenges Suitors

Brewer Scottish and Newcastle said its expectations for 2007 results were unchanged and repeated its rejection of a 7.6 billion pound ($14.9 billion) bid from Carlsberg and Heineken.

"S&N has demonstrated the strength of its brand portfolio by delivering strong performance in both the UK and France in Q4 despite difficult market conditions," the brewer of Foster's and Kronenbourg beers said on Monday.

Scottish and Newcastle (S&N) rejected an improved 780 pence a share joint bid proposal from Denmark's Carlsberg and Heineken of the Netherlands last week, but said it would engage in talks if the price was lifted to 800 pence a share.

Key to the increasingly bitter fight is S&N's and Carlsberg's Russian brewing venture, BBH, which the Danish brewer wants to control. S&N wants either to extract a high price, or turn the tables and buy out Carlsberg.

S&N has called for Carlsberg to be more open about its expectations for BBH and on Monday urged its partner to publish extracts from BBH's three-year business plan.

It said it had sent a draft of an announcement to Carlsberg and awaited the Danish group's agreement for it to be published.

"We are totally committed to realizing full value for our shareholders, however that may manifest itself," S&N Chief Executive John Dunsmore said in a statement.

"We have clearly stated the level at which we would engage with the consortium (Carlsberg and Heineken) and have again called for greater transparency on BBH. We would urge shareholders to continue to press the consortium to co-operate in releasing the BBH information."