Shares in Scottish & Newcastle fell 9.5p to finish on 729p yesterday after investors were left unimpressed by the brewer's plans to become “leaner, tougher and faster”.

The plans, which come as S&N continues to fight a takeover approach from Carlsberg and Heineken, included a joint venture to build a new cider mill in Herefordshire, moving its “under-utilised” bottling plant at its Berkshire brewery to Tadcaster and selling its French on-trade distribution business for £85m.

Analysts said the trading update did not contain much new information and were also concerned that beer sales in France and Finland had declined sharply, according to reports in The Times.

In a statement, Carlsberg and Heineken said: “The raft of tactical initiatives for the Western European markets may very well not be in the long-term interests of the business and carry significant execution risk.”

"In light of today's unconvincing trading update and list of tactical initiatives, we urge S&N's shareholders to continue to encourage their board to engage with the consortium," added Heineken chairman and CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer.