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Investec Bank Loaned 240 Million Rand to Company in Liquidation

Investec Plc (INVP), the owner of a bank and a money manager in South Africa and the U.K., said it loaned about 240 million rand ($24.8 million) to Johannesburg-based First Strut Ltd., which is in liquidation.

The loan is “fully secured on underlying collateral which is predominantly property,” Ursula Nobrega, head of investor relations at Investec in Johannesburg, said in an e-mailed response to questions today.

Investec Asset Management, the company’s money management arm, has invested client funds in First Strut bonds, said Nobrega. Investec Asset Management declined to disclose details of client exposure in separate e-mailed statement today.

First Strut, a manufacturer supplying the transport, mining and power industries, was placed in provisional liquidation on July 16, said John Louw, who was appointed business rescue practitioner for the firm that employs more than 5,000 people. That came after Jeff Wiggill, chairman of the company which also trades as First Tech Group, was murdered last month.

Wiggill, 59 was found next to his car on Randfontein Road in Soweto with bullet wounds to his head, the South African Press Association reported June 20. His wallet and mobile phone were missing and the motive for the killing was unknown, SAPA said, citing police captain, Augustinah Selepe.

First Strut Chief Executive Officer Andris Bertulis was unavailable for comment today, according to an e-mailed response from Megan Bell at First Tech Group.

First Strut, which sold 450 million rand of senior secured bonds in 2011, has 925 million rand of floating-rate notes outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Global Credit Ratings withdrew its coverage of First Strut bonds this month, after initially rating them BBB.

Standard Bank Group Ltd. (SBK), which was named in bond documents on First Strut’s website, can’t comment because of client confidentiality agreements, said Ross Linstrom, a spokesman for the Johannesburg-based lender.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Bonorchis in Johannesburg at rbonorchis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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