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Investec sells Australian $913 mln acquisition finance loan-book to Metrics

SYDNEY, March 24 (Reuters) - Investec’s Australian unit has agreed to sell its A$1.2 billion ($912.96 million) acquisition finance loan-book to corporate lender Metrics Credit Partners, sources told Reuters, as part of the investment bank’s move to exit the country.

The portfolio is made up of leveraged finance debt and loans to private equity-owned companies in Australia’s entertainment, retail, childcare, healthcare, mining services and financial services sectors, Investec and Metrics said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

Both firms declined to comment on the value of the book or its price.

“The credit quality of this portfolio is sound and provides a great opportunity to expand our relationship with Australian corporate borrowers,” Metrics Managing Partner Andrew Lockhart said.

Investec, which had been operating in the Antipodean country for over 20 years, earlier this year announced it would close its office in Australia to focus on its core operations in the U.K. and South Africa.

Its exit comes in the midst of a shake-up in the investment banking market in Australia, with Lazard Ltd also handing over its mergers and acquisitions advisory business in the country to a new, “affiliated” firm, while newcomers Barrenjoey and Jarden, raid competitors for talent.

$1 = 1.3144 Australian dollars Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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