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S&P downgrades Ethiopia; Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Q4'20 profit falls 35.7% YOY

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S&P downgrades Ethiopia; Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Q4'20 profit falls 35.7% YOY

TOP NEWS IN MIDDLE EASTERN AND AFRICAN FINANCIALS

* S&P Global Ratings downgraded Ethiopia's long-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings to B- from B and placed them on CreditWatch with negative implications amid risks that the East African country might include commercial creditors in its government debt restructuring plans.

* Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC's fourth-quarter 2020 net profit after zakat and tax slipped 35.7% year over year to 482.6 million United Arab Emirates dirhams from 750.6 million dirhams, with credit provisions and impairment charges more than tripling to 360.0 million dirhams. The bank's full-year 2020 net profit after zakat and tax also fell to 1.60 billion dirhams from 2.60 billion dirhams in 2019.

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Bond buying programs must account for climate risk, ECB official says

The European Central Bank should limit its climate risk exposure by buying debt issues from corporates aligned with the Paris Agreement on climate change, France central bank governor and ECB Executive Board Member François Villeroy de Galhau said Feb. 11.

ING's shares surge as Dutch bank plans dividends after 'resilient' 2020 earnings

ING Groep NV's share price gained after the Dutch bank vowed to resume dividend payouts in 2021 and posted what were dubbed "resilient results" for 2020 by CEO Steven van Rijswijk.

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BANKING

* UAE-based First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC secured a custody license from the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority in connection with the bank's proposed full take over Bank Audi SAE, including its local custody franchise.

* UAE-based Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC won a worldwide freezing order from a U.K. court against the principal owners and executives of NMC Health PLC, the now-collapsed healthcare group founded by businessman B.R. Shetty, the Financial Times wrote. The bank is believed to have an exposure to NMC of more than $1 billion.

* Qatar Islamic Bank completed with HSBC Bank Middle East its first Islamic Trade Facility in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey valued at $100 million in January 2021. The Financial Institutions Refinance trade facility is a new addition to HSBC Bank Middle East's Islamic product suite.

* The tender offer period for Egypt-based Banque Misr SAE's plan to take a controlling stake in CI Capital Holding Co. SAE began on the stock exchange yesterday, Amwal Al Ghad reported. The offer period will last until March 11.

* Bahrain Development Bank appointed Farah Rabea head of digital marketing and member of executive management committee of the bank, Akhbar Al Khaleej reported.

* South African lenders including Standard Bank Group Ltd., FirstRand Ltd., Absa Group Ltd. and Nedbank Ltd. provided some $130 million of loans for the upgrade of the Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe, Bloomberg News reported.

* Nigeria-based Africa Finance Corp. plans to combine existing and new solar, wind and hydro projects in some African countries into a single unit as part of its effort to transition its energy portfolio towards greener projects to attract more institutional investors, the Financial Times reported, citing the bank's incoming chief investment officer, Sameh Shenouda. The unit could eventually be carved out and list in London.

* Timothy Kabiru, a former CEO of Kenya-based Jamii Bora Bank Ltd., is seeking departure pay of 78 million shillings from the bank, which Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd. acquired and renamed Kingdom Bank, Business Daily Africa reported. However, the bank is resisting the demand, saying the amount is unjustified.

* UAE-based United Arab Bank PJSC received regulatory approval to appoint Saeeda Jaffar as an independent board member to fill the vacant position.

* Ahli United Bank BSC said Bahrain's central bank approved its request to postpone the election of new board for the new March 2021-2024 term, extending the term of the current board until the end of September.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

* South Africa-based Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. said shareholder Coronation Asset Managers Proprietary Ltd. has increased its stake in the company to 10.51% from 9.92%.

* U.K.-based Linkham Group is bound to take a majority interest in Kenya-based Resolution Insurance Ltd after agreeing to acquire 100% of LeapFrog Investments, which acquired an undisclosed stake in the insurer in 2014 for 2.04 billion shillings, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority approved a request by Derayah Financial Co. to sell units of Derayah GCC Growth and Income Equity Fund in an IPO.

* The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange reduced overall trading activity fees on all exchange transactions, with fees of all transactions that occur on ADX reduced by more than 22% to 0.175%, effective Feb. 14, Mubasher reported.

* The general assembly of Al Mal Investment has approved a proposal to dissolve the board of directors and formed a committee of three people that will be tasked to organize an election of new board of directors.

* The Tunis Stock Exchange saw a change in its deputy head, with Abdelaziz Hammami taking over for Kamel Gana, who retired, Il Boursa said.

POLICY AND REGULATION

* Norway ended its investigation over DNB ASA's involvement in processing payments from Icelandic fisheries company Samherji to Namibia after finding insufficient grounds for criminal prosecution of individuals.

* Uganda's Commercial Court ordered Stanbic Bank Uganda Ltd. to pay some 400 million shillings after some top employees at the bank skirted the law to establish a fraudulent company to sell to themselves parcels of land belonging to a client, Daily Monitor reported.

* The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission stalled a plan to supervise the cryptocurrency sector until players in the industry are allowed to open bank accounts, Bloomberg News reported. The central bank previously ordered the closure of accounts dealing in cryptocurrencies, saying transactions treated the economy.

* The Lebanese central bank pledged to cooperate with consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal on a government-commissioned forensic audit of the regulator, The National reported. Alvarez & Marsal previously quit the audit citing insufficient information provided by the central bank.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Taking advantage of investor interest, Côte d'Ivoire prepared a bond listing in Luxembourg and Dublin for €850 million, three months after a successful €1 billion listing, Jeune Afrique said.

* Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari approved a plan to form Infra-Co, a new public-private company with a seed capital of 1 trillion naira focusing on infrastructure development, Reuters reported. The capital will come from the country's central bank, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and Africa Finance Corp.

* Ghanaian Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is traveling to the U.S. for a health examination after he contracted COVID-19, a move that will delay a parliamentary hearing for the confirmation of his reappointment, Bloomberg reported.

Sheryl Obejera, Abdelghani Henni, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa is updated as of 4 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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