Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Ltd (MeTL), one of East Africa's largest conglomerates, has bought the former state-owned Texmoque textile mill in Mozambique.

MeTL managing director, Mohammed Dewji, has pledged to invest $20m to renovate and modernise the factory in the northern Mozambican city of Nampula.

Production is expected to resume by mid-2007 with a workforce of 800 people. The factory will initially produce African prints but will later diversify its products to cover a larger local and international market, Dewji said.

In recent years Texmoque has had a chequered history. It shut its operations in 1994, and although it was taken over by Portuguese company Multiplier in 1996, production failed to re-start.

The Mozambican Government's Institute for the Management of State Holdings (IGEPE) signed a memorandum of understanding with MeTL in April and the handover took place on 9 October.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania-based MeTL, whose business interests range from food products to household appliances, has previously revived the Afritex, Tanga and 21st Century Textiles textile mills.