Interbrew, which brews Stella Artois lager, has revealed that it is in talks with AmBev, Brazil’s biggest brewer, which may lead to a “significant transaction”.

The statement has fuelled speculation that a £12bn merger may be in the offing which would create the world’s second-biggest beer producer.

Interbrew would not elaborate further on what this may mean or indeed if a deal was certain or not.

The Belgian-based brewer said: “There can be no assurance that any agreement will be consummated from these discussions, and the parties do not intend to make further comment until an agreement is reached or talks have been terminated.”

Other theories are that the deal could involve mutually beneficial distribution rights or a deal over Interbrew’s 30% stake in Mexican brewer Femsa.

It has also been suggested that in light of the interest from Interbrew that Anheuser-Busch, the world’s biggest brewer may launch a bid for AmBev.