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Bank ABC posts higher FY'16 results; Habib unit acquisition draws concern


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Bank ABC posts higher FY'16 results; Habib unit acquisition draws concern

* Bloomberg data shows Senegal, Tunisia, Ghana and Zambia to be at high risk of missing debt payments following Mozambique's eurobond default last month.

* PCP Capital Partners accused former Barclays Plc banker Roger Jenkins at a high-court hearing of using his personal email to facilitate a £7.3 billion cash call in 2008, wherein Barclays turned to investors from both Qatar and Abu Dhabi to stave off U.K. government control, the Financial Times reports.


* Gulf Cooperation Council economies could generate revenues of $114 billion and avoid $165 billion in CapEx by 2021 by promoting the private sector, achieving operational efficiencies of 10% to 20%, Reuters writes, citing a report by think tank Ideation Center.

* The Bahraini parliament's Financial and Economic Affairs Committee approved the expansion of the Central Bank of Bahrain's powers, giving the bank the authority to liquidate or sell mortgage assets of institutions it manages to protect it from degradation, Al Watan Bahrain reports. The bank said this will protect the interest of customers and creditors of financial degradation.

* Arab Banking Corp. (B.S.C.), or Bank ABC, reported full-year 2016 consolidated group net profit attributable to the shareholders of the parent of $183 million, 2% higher than $180 million earned a year ago. The bank's board recommended a cash dividend distribution of 3% of the issued share capital, translating to about 50% of the 2016 net profit attributable to the shareholders of the parent.

* Qatar National Bank SAQ intends to open branches in Saudi Arabia and India this year as part of its strategy to hasten its international growth, Gulf Times reports.

* Gulf Bank K.S.C.P. appointed Ahmad Khalid al-Duwaisan general manager of corporate banking, the Kuwait Times reports.

* The Middle East Investor Relations Association appointed Fahmi Alghussein Qatar chapter head, CPI Financial reports. Alghussein previously served as CEO at Amwal and has over 25 years of experience in asset management, investment banking and capital markets.

* Abdullah bin Salim al-Salmi, executive president of the Oman's Capital Market Authority tells the Times of Oman that at least seven national insurance firms in the country will have to go public on the Muscat Securities Market before August, as per the insurance law.

* Groupe Crédit Agricole du Maroc, in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank, is to kick off its Islamic banking activities with the creation of around 15 to 20 sales points, Finance News reports. The bank was given at the beginning of the year the official green light to begin offering such products.

* Fitch Ratings downgraded Tunisia's long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings to B+ from BB-, with a stable outlook, among other ratings actions.

* A potential merger of Société Tunisienne de Banque, Banque de l'Habitat and Banque Nationale Agricole would depend on the Tunisian state selling minority stakes in a number of institutions that could include Stusid Bank, Banque Zitouna, Banque Tuniso-Libyenne, Banque de Tunisie et des Emirats SA and Al Baraka Bank Tunisia, Financial Afrik writes. The idea of merging the three public banks is strongly supported by Fadhel Abdelkefi, Tunisia's minister of development, investment and international cooperation.

* Slim Feriani has been named president of Tunisia's Banque de Financement des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises, L'Economiste reports. Feriani formerly headed up U.K.-based GCA Asset Management and investment fund Emerging.

* The Central Bank of Egypt said the country's net foreign reserves rose to $26.36 billion at the end of January from $24.27 billion at the end of December 2016, according to Reuters.

* The Egyptian Stock Exchange said Union National Bank - Egypt (SAE) applied for listing of issued and paid-up capital increase to 1.34 billion Egyptian pounds from 1.27 billion pounds, Reuters writes.


* A survey showed that activity in Kenya's private sector increased modestly in January as banks curtailed new lending to firms after an interest rate cap came into force in September 2016, Reuters reports.

* Ghanaian Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta said the government will miss its 2016 targets on growth, fiscal deficit reduction and its primary balance as it inherited at least 7 billion Ghanaian cedis in debt from the previous administration, and that it intends to restore fiscal discipline and eliminate overspending, Reuters writes. Ofori-Atta also said the country's debt bailout program with the IMF may require "tweaking" as a result of the shortfall, according to Bloomberg News.

* Traders said the Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday sold roughly 400 billion Nigerian naira of treasury bills, lifting the interbank lending rate up to 12%, Reuters reports.

* Nigeria-based First City Monument Bank Ltd. sold at an interest rate coupon of 17.25% 5.1 billion naira of bonds, less than the 7.5 billion naira it originally planned to raise, Reuters reports.

* Skye Bank Plc announced the resignation of four executive directors, namely Idris Yakubu, Markie Idowu, Abimbola Izu and Bayo Sanni.

* Cape Verde's government outlined changes to the law governing microfinance entities, weekly newspaper A Semana reports, adding the reforms would tighten regulation over the sector and guarantee the separation of social and commercial activities. Under the new law, the country's central bank will supervise banking operations.

* Madiou Soumaré has been appointed CEO of Nsia Assurances Togo, replacing José Kwassi Syménouh, Jeune Afrique reports. Soumaré was previously deputy CEO.


* The South African Reserve Bank has recommended rejecting Vardospan's bid to buy Habib Overseas Bank Ltd.'s local unit because of concerns about the source of the income and tax declarations of Vardospan owners Salim Essa and Hamza Farooqui, insiders tell Bloomberg News. Essa is also linked to the controversial Gupta family, whose companies' accounts were closed by South Africa's biggest lenders last year over "suspicious transactions."

* Meanwhile, Bank of China Ltd. closed the accounts of steelmaker VR Laser, a company linked to the Gupta family, due to perceived political risk, BusinessDay writes.

* South Africa-based microlender Blue Financial Services is seeking 163 million rand in damages from Standard Chartered and Atlas Mara Ltd. unit ABC Holdings Ltd., known as BancABC, in connection with its failed recapitalization in 2010, BusinessDay reports.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Mozambique's SD/D long- and short-term foreign-currency sovereign credit ratings and its B-/B long- and short-term local-currency sovereign credit ratings. The outlook on the local currency rating remains stable.

* Meanwhile, Mozambique's government denied recent media reports it had sought debt relief from the Paris Club of creditor countries, Reuters reports, citing a statement by the Finance Ministry in Maputo. Mozambique missed a $59.8 million coupon payment in January and wants to restructure its foreign debts, which the government has called "unsustainable." In another sign of the debt crisis that has gripped Mozambique since April 2016, Portugal's Expresso newspaper says the country was running out of funds to pay for fuel imports.

* Angola's state-run oil company Sonangol invested some €198 million in Millennium BCP's €1.33 billion capital increase to maintain its nearly 15% stake in the Portuguese lender, Jornal de Negócios, Novo Jornal and Público report. Holding company InterOceânico, another Angolan investor, also took part in the capital increase to maintain its 1.7% participation, Jornal de Negócios says.

* Angolan political party Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, named Defense Minister João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço as its presidential candidate for the August elections, Bloomberg News reports. President José Eduardo dos Santos confirmed he will not run for re-election, ending his 38-year rule, but will retain control of MPLA, according to Reuters.

* S&P affirmed the Democratic Republic of Congo's B-/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings. The outlook remains negative.


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Sheryl Obejera, Sarah Raslan, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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