Scottish & Newcastle and Finish partner Hartwall said their 50-50% joint venture with Denmark’s Carlsberg Breweries - Baltic Beverages Holding - has bought a 76% stake in the Irbis Brewery in Kazakhstan.

BBH said it will said it would invest 45m euros in a new brewery expected to be ready during the summer of 2004.

Hartwall said that during the construction stage, brand positioning would be strengthened with products from the existing Irbis Brewery and those manufactured at BBH breweries in Russia.

Irbis is one of the leading beer brands in the premium segment in Kazakhstan. Consumption of beer in Kazakhstan has increased by 20% according to BHH.

Meanwhile, Hartwall posted a 14% rise in profit to 144m between January and September on sales which jumped 24% to 763m euros. The BBH joint venture with Carlsberg contributed 503m euros to sales.