Philips Millennium is to buy 51% of the Polish spirits producer Polmos Zyrardow, makers of the profitable Belvedere vodka.

The US-based company, via its subsidiary Philips Millennium LCC Import, signed a deal with Poland's treasury for its stake in the company last week, making Zyrardow the country's third spirits producer to be privatised.

Zyrardow, which sold 3.2m litres of alcohol in 2000 with a production capacity of 7m litres, reported sales last year of PZ120m (US$28m) and a net profit of PZ1m.

Polish law gives employees the right to up to 15% of shares owned by the treasury on the date when the spirits producer's shares are allocated to the newly created firm.

Prior to its 51% stake in Zyrardow, Philips Millennium has successfully imported both Belvedere and the famous Chopin vodka brands in the US.