Swarp Spinning Mills, one of Zambia's largest cotton spinners, is up for sale after calling in the receivers.

Insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor (East Africa) is trying to sell the business, which has a book value of $45m and debts of $60m, as a going concern.

Ian Small, from the Begbies Traynor office in Nairobi, said: "This will be a challenging assignment, especially with the global economic turmoil affecting inward investment into even the most promising emerging markets in Africa.

"We are hopeful that a buyer can be found and the business preserved, along with as many jobs as possible."

Swarp, established in 1981, exports yarn to a range of overseas markets, particularly Europe. The company currently employs 1,000 staff and workers on a 42 acre site in Ndola in northern Zambia.

The mill has a capacity of nearly 50,000 spindles and a dye house operating 24 hours a day, 362 days a year.