The European Commission has approved Scottish & Newcastle's £1.25bn takeover of the Finnish brewer Hartwall.

The EC said the businesses were complementary, with no substantial overlaps. Hartwall makes and wholesales alcoholic drinks including beer, cider and mixed beverages with low alcohol content, mineral water and soft drinks mainly in Finland.

S&N's chief executive, Brian Stewart, said: "We are creating a leading force across the whole of Europe, from Siberia to the Atlantic".

The deal will give S&N access to northern and eastern Europe as well as Russia, currently the world's fastest-growing beer market. Hartwall has a joint venture with Carlsberg in Baltic Beverages Holding, the leading brewer in Russia.