The Czech government has said it wants to continue talks with Pernod Ricard over the French company's plans to acquire a 59% stake in the state-owned distillery Jan Becher-Karlovarska Becherovka (JBKB).

Czech sources are claiming that a government official confirmed the government's intentions to local journalists this week. However, Czech companies, Karlovarske Mineralni Vody (KMV) and Bohemia Sekt (BS) have also reportedly expressed an interest in JBKB.

Earlier the government dismissed a privatisation plan to sell to Pernod a controlling stake in the maker of Becherovka - in which Pernod already holds a 37% - because the French group had demanded trademark guarantees before it paid for the business.

Pernod was demanding protection from a Czech businessman Zdenek Hoffman who claims to be the true heir to the Becherovka brand and is producing his own version of the drink from Slovenia.

However, Pernod said recently it is now willing to purchase a further stake in the distillery without receiving any specific guarantee from the government on trademark risks.

Strategic Review 2001 Pernod Ricard