GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Moody's said recent M&A deals among banks in the GCC will likely ease the sector's overcapacity and improve lenders' profitability via synergies and increased pricing power.
* Qatar National Bank QPSC reported full-year 2018 net profit attributable to equity holders of the bank of 13.79 billion Qatari riyals, up from 13.13 billion riyals in the year-ago period. QNB's board proposed a cash dividend of 6.0 riyals per share for 2018.
* Emirates NBD Bank PJSC posted full-year 2018 group profit attributable to equity holders of 10.04 billion United Arab Emirates dirhams, up from 8.35 billion dirhams a year ago.
* First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC issued $850 million in five-year sukuk, Reuters reported, citing a document from one of the banks that led the transaction.
* Nasdaq Dubai Ltd. launched a futures trading operation on the MSCI UAE equity index, as it presses ahead with its expansion in the futures market.
* FADB unit First Abu Dhabi Investment Saudi Co. is seeking approval from the Capital Markets Authority of Saudi Arabia to change its name to FAB Capital.
* Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co.'s shareholders approved a plan to increase the company's capital to 300 million Saudi Arabian riyals from 250 million riyals via bonus shares, Argaam noted. The 20% capital hike will be financed by funds from its retained earnings account.
* Bank Muscat SAOG posted unaudited preliminary full-year 2018 net profit of 179.6 million Omani rials, up 1.6% from 176.8 million rials in 2017.
* Kuwait Finance House KSCP CEO Mazin Saad al-Nahedh said the company could exit Malaysia and pull out from investments worth up to $400 million this year due to tough competition in the Southeast Asian nation, The Malaysian Reserve reported. Al-Nahedh said the Islamic lender "can't compete traditionally" in Malaysia.
* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority renewed the brokerage license of First Securities Brokerage for a period of 3 years.
* BBK BSC CEO Reyadh Sater said the lender has plans to expand internationally and has recently opened a new branch in India and an office in Turkey, Al-Watan reported. The lender's new strategy also focuses on developing electronic channels, he added.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenyan lawmaker Moses Kuria has proposed to allow borrowers to negotiate risk-based loan interest rates of up to 6 percentage points above the existing cap, in a bid to spur lending amid a slowdown that followed the measure, Bloomberg News wrote.
* The assets and liabilities of Bank M Tanzania PLC have been transferred to Azania Bank Ltd. after the former was placed under administration, Reuters wrote, citing Tanzania central bank Deputy Governor Bernard Kibesse. The transfer brings Azania Bank's capital to 164 billion shillings.
* The merger between Access Bank PLC and Diamond Bank PLC has received an approval in principle from the Nigerian central bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Premium Times reported, citing Victor Etuokwu, Access Bank executive director for personal banking. Etuokwu added that the deal is now only awaiting final approval, which would be given after a shareholders' meeting.
* Nigerian Stock Exchange CEO Oscar Onyema said the bourse is planning to scale back on compliance burden on listed companies, The Punch reported. Onyema reportedly told a conference that the NSE is "not interested in issuing fines."
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Absa Group Ltd. is targeting first-time home owners as it seeks to regain its share of South Africa's mortgage market, Arrie Rautenbach, CEO of the bank's retail and business banking unit, told Bloomberg News. Rautenbach said the group plans to boost its share of the housing market to 28% from 20% in the next five years and to increase lending across the unit, including vehicle finance and personal loans.
* Old Mutual Investment Group bought a 4.96% stake in FMB Capital Holdings Plc for 8.54 billion Malawian kwachas, The Times of Malawi reported.
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has scrapped a criminal investigation into Credit Suisse Group AG in relation to alleged fraudulent activities in Mozambique, Reuters reported. FCA head Andrew Bailey told lawmakers that the regulator has no mandate to prosecute under Britain's anti-bribery law, but that the regulator continues to probe the bank and individuals for any conduct rule violation.
* Responding to a growing number of complaints from customers, the management of Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA said the problems with cards in ATMs and Multicash terminals have been solved. The bank said some restrictions were imposed Jan. 8 due to a technical update, but the service has since been fully restored, Angola Press reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: China denies delaying Mastercard, Visa entry; fund manager sells IOOF stake
Europe: MPS shares suspended; Swiss Re sees $1B nat cat claims burden; Tandem eyes IPO
Latin America: BNDES freezes advertising spending; Bradesco reshuffles management
North America: JPMorgan's Q4'18 EPS below consensus; PNC Bank buying Ambassador Financial
Global Insurance: UnitedHealth revenues up; Swiss Re sees $1B cat burden; new Lexington structure
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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