Absolut vodka is to launch two new flavours in the UK this year, despite a proposal by the Swedish government to sell off brand owner Vin & Spirit (V&S).

The newly elected Swedish government confirmed last week that it would put the proposed sale before parliament by March at the latest. The move comes as part of a pledge to sell off a number of Sweden's nationally owned companies.

A spokesman for V&S, said it was one of the companies suggested for sale but declined to comment further. One of the companies cited as being interested in buying the brand is the world's biggest wine company, Constellation Brands, which looked at acquiring Allied Domecq in 2005.

Known in the UK mostly for wine brands like Hardys and Stowells and cider brands Blackthorn and Gaymers, the family-owned company has a large portfolio of spirits in the US.

"It is our policy not to comment on transactions or speculation," said Constellation's vice president of corporate communications, Mike Martin. "We will look at all alcohol opportunities that exist and we are looking at expanding our premium and mid-premium spirits portfolio, where we are seeing major growth particularly in the US," he said. "Of course if it makes sense for us we would look at acquiring companies outside of the US, as we did when we looked at Allied Domecq."

Other potential bidders include Pernod Ricard and Diageo, both of which were unavailable for comment. Scandinavian drinks group Arcus has also been mooted as a potential buyer.

Despite the uncertainty, the launch of Absolut Ruby Red - a grapefruit flavoured vodka - into the UK this summer will go ahead, confirmed a UK spokesperson for the brand.

Absolut Pears, which has just been released in the US, will also be making an appearance in the UK towards the end of the year, though a launch date has yet to be confirmed.