The Czech government has selected a law firm to handle Budejovicky Budvar's switch from state-owned brewer to a joint-stock company, according to local reports.

Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny said yesterday (11 March) that Kriz & Belina has been selected as legal adviser for the move. The switch to joint-stock company is widely believed to pre-empt the outright move to take the brewer private at some point in the future.

Without citing sources, the paper also said that the Czech authorities are hoping to raise "tens of billions of crowns" (CZK1bn = US$61.7m) from the sale, but that the divestment would not take place this year.

Earlier reports from the country have suggested that the current Government is looking to privatise Budvar at some point before the end of its term in office, in 2010.

Both A-B and InBev have been linked to a possible bid for Budvar, although neither has consistently commented on the reports.

Budvar is thought to be worth between CZK20bn (US$1.01bn) and CZK40bn.