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The attraction of Africa; M&A activity in Middle East

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The attraction of Africa; M&A activity in Middle East

* Fairfax Africa Holdings Corp., an investment holding company set up by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. to invest in public and private equity securities and debt instruments of African businesses with a view to acquiring control or significant influence positions, filed a preliminary prospectus with the securities regulatory authorities of all Canadian provinces and territories for an IPO of subordinate voting shares.

* Lebanese investment firm EuroMena closed its third fund at $150 million, Agence Ecofin reports. The fund is aimed at extending EuroMena's footprint into sub-Saharan Africa.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* SHUAA Capital PSC acquired a 14% ownership stake, representing 147,106,849 shares, in GFH Financial Group BSC unit Khaleeji Commercial Bank BSC. SHUAA Capital purchased the stake from Alimtiaz Investment Group Co. in a special auction at a price of 65 Bahraini fils per share, for a total value of 9.6 million dinars.

* Meanwhile, Bahrain-based AL Ahlia Insurance Co. BSC's general assembly approved the sale of a 71.4% stake in the company to Solidarity Group Holding, equal to 44.6 million shares, for 242 fils per share, Al Ayam writes.

* EFG Hermes Frontier Holdings LLC, a unit of EFG-Hermes Holding SAE offered to buy 2,201,342 shares of Pakistan's Invest & Finance Securities for 15 Pakistani rupees per share, Reuters reports.

* Gulf Bank KSCP clarified reports on its divestment of shares in Zain, saying it sold 34.2 million of its shares in Zain for 14.2 million Kuwaiti dinars, and not 38.6 million shares for 16 million dinars, Reuters reports.

* Arabian Islamic Takaful Insurance Co. launched with paid-up capital of 5 million Kuwaiti dinars, Kuwait News Agency says.

* The paid up capital of Ahli United Bank BSC increased due to the issuance of 6,302,207 shares, to $1.71 billion from $1.70 billion.

* Solidarity Saudi Takaful Co. applied to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority to reduce its capital 55% to 250 million riyals from 555 million riyals.

* Beirut-based Bank Audi SAL completed the procedures for the bank's capital increase to 672.33 billion pounds from 668.19 billion pounds through the issuance of series I preferred shares.

* Kuwait Financial Centre "Markaz" said it completed and issuance of bonds for 25 million Kuwaiti dinars, with the funds to be used to meet previous financial commitments and repay debt.

* The board of directors of Islamic Development Bank approved a three-year action plan, amounting to $16 billion, as well as a $5.2 billion budget, for 2017. The bank's board also agreed to inject $863 million to finance development projects in several member countries.

* The board of directors of Saudi British Bank recommended the distribution of a cash dividend of 35 fils per share for the second half of 2016.

* U.S.-based investment banking firm NMS Capital Advisors LLC opened a representative office in Dubai and hired Murray Watson and Graham Bell as managing directors.

* Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange intends to introduce a technical short-selling service early next year and has begun conducting meetings with brokerages in Abu Dhabi and Dubai ahead of the launch of the service.

* National Bank of Kuwait S.A.K.P. was invited by the Kuwaiti ministry of finance to participate in a U.S.-dollar denominated bond issue planned by the government, with a deadline to respond by Jan. 5, Reuters reports.

* Israel's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.1% and expects it to remain at its current level in the first three quarters of next year, before gradually rising from the fourth quarter. The regulator raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 3.5% from 2.8%, and raised the growth forecast for 2017 to 3.2% from 3.1%. Reuters has a report.

* A Reuters poll of 11 economists showed that the Central Bank of Egypt is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at its Thursday meeting, putting off any further action until the regulator has a clearer view of the impact on inflation of last month's steep hike in borrowing costs, Reuters reports.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd. launched a multicurrency prepaid card, enabling its clients to hold up to nine currencies, including the U.S. dollar and euro, in one card, Standard Digital reports. The card, which is primarily targeted at importers and exporters, as well as travelers and students abroad, aims to cushion customers from foreign currency exposure.

* National Bank of Kenya Ltd. intends to lay off employees and offer an incentive for early voluntary retirement beginning January, Standard Digital reports, citing a circular from the bank's managing director.

* A.M. Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the financial strength rating of B+ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb-" of Kenya Reinsurance Corp. Ltd.

* Official data from the statistics office of Mauritius showed that the country's economy grew by an estimated 3.6% this year, down from the previous forecast of 3.7% in September. Reuters has a report.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The Democratic Republic of the Congo's central bank reduced the growth forecast for the year to 2.5%, compared to its 5.3% projection in June, on the back of low commodity prices, Jeune Afrique reports.

* Mozambique has finished the process of estimating the value of assets of collapsed bank Nosso Banco, O País reports. The revenue from the assets sale will be used to repay depositors and creditors who lost money with the bank's bankruptcy.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Anbang to buy Allianz South Korea biz; Sany-led group sets up commercial bank

Latin America: BNDES makes 100B reais repayment; Argentina revamps finance ministry

North America: Barclays gets kudos for defying DOJ; former Wells banker testifies today

North America Insurance: Trump administration could cut ACA benefits; 2016 quiet for IPOs

Xana Kakoty, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.