The Indian owner of Whyte & Mackay could be force to sell a stake in the Scotch whisky brand as it battles to pay off debts worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

United Breweries Group bought Whyte & Mackay for £595m in 2007 via its United Spirits subsidiary.

UB Group’s owner, Vijay Mallya, yesterday told the Bombay Stock Exchange selling a 49% stake in the brand was one of “several options available” to help the group pay off its debt.

According to Ravi Nedungadi, chief financial officer at UB Group, “a number of private equity players” had expressed interest in snapping up the stake.