The Serbian food producer Swisslion-Takovo has purchased a controlling stake in the Mitros meat processing firm for 36m dinars (US$597,000), Serbia's Privatisation Agency said on Friday.

The South East Europe Newswire reported that Swisslion-Takovo bought 70% of Mitros at the starting price at an auction held by the agency. The food producer, one of Serbia's largest,is to assume 556.7m dinars of Mitros debt. It also pledged a minimum investments of 91m dinars.

Mitros, which employs roughly 1,000, halted production six months ago. A tender for its sale organised by the privatisation agency in 2003 failed as the sole bidder refused to take over all of Mitros' debts.