Johannesburg - FirstRand said its investment-banking unit arranged a $200 million (R2.1 billion) working-capital facility for MeTL Group of Tanzania to trade commodities in and out of East Africa.

“The facility is syndicated with both local and international financial institutions and is one of the largest loan facilities provided for the trading of commodities in East Africa,” Johannesburg-based Rand Merchant Bank said in an e-mailed statement.

MeTL Group’s main trading business is importing palm oil for soaps and detergents, Ben Bechet, a senior transactor at RMB, said by phone.

The group also exports agricultural products including sugar, fertiliser and cashew nuts, he said.

MeTL Group has more than 24,000 employees in Tanzania and also has businesses in agriculture and transport, according to its website. - Bloomberg News