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UAE lender to swap Abraaj debt for fund stakes; PE firms invest in Prime Bank

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UAE lender to swap Abraaj debt for fund stakes; PE firms invest in Prime Bank

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC will take stakes in Abraaj Group Ltd.'s funds that were offered as security against the approximately $170 million loan it lent the troubled private equity firm, Reuters reported. The lender is expected to secure in the coming weeks a court approval to swap the debt. The move comes after Noor Bank PJSC reportedly obtained court approval to take stakes in Abraaj's funds that were pledged against the $100 million loan it granted the group.

* The United Arab Emirates' Securities and Commodities Authority issued a new regulation targeting listed companies whose losses exceed 20% of their capital, according to Al-Ittihad. Under the new rules, firms will be required to provide the regulator a thorough analysis of their losses, while companies whose losses exceed 50% will have to set up a committee to implement a restructuring plan.

* The board of directors of Saudi Arabian lender Bank AlJazira recommended a 5% cash dividend, or 50 halalas per share, for the fiscal year 2018, Argaam reported.

* Kuwait Finance House KSCP launched a money transfer service that uses the RippleNet's international blockchain technology network, Al Seyassah reported.

* Kuwait's parliament approved a new law regulating the exchange of credit information, Kuwait News Agency wrote.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Iran's Bank Pasargad PLC will open a branch in Mumbai within the next three months after obtaining permission from the government of India, The Times of India reported.

* Bank of Israel data showed that the country's foreign exchange reserves at the end of December 2018 stood at $115.28 billion, up by $223 million from the previous month.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed the BB-/B long- and short-term foreign currency ratings of Jordan Ahli Bank, with a negative outlook.

* CI Ratings affirmed Egypt-based Bank of Alexandria SAE's B+/B long- and short-term foreign currency ratings, with a stable outlook

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* In its latest Financial Stability report, the Bank of Uganda said the asset quality of the country's banks improved in the year to June 2018, with the ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans decreasing to 4.4% from 6.2%. The central bank, however, cautioned that asset quality "remains a concern, especially as interest rates start to rise."

* Private equity firms AfricInvest and Catalyst Principal Partners have acquired a 24.2% stake in Kenya's Prime Bank Ltd. after injecting 5.1 billion Kenyan shillings of capital into the lender, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Telecommunications firm Safaricom PLC rolled out an overdraft facility to users of its mobile money transfer service M-Pesa, Business Daily Africa wrote.

* The Nairobi Securities Exchange said it had halted trading of shares just before noon yesterday because of a technical problem but expects the issue to be resolved by today, Reuters reported.

* Madagascar's Constitutional Court declared former President Andry Rajoelina the winner of last month's run-off presidential election, Bloomberg News reported.

* NSIA Banque concluded a €10 million deal with computer services firm Cloud Temple West Africa aimed at securing the lender's IT systems over a period of five years, Agence Ecofin wrote. The IT company will also develop digital services in all 28 of the group's subsidiaries.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* A South African court postponed to Jan. 9 a hearing on former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang in relation to a $2 billion fraud scheme involving loans to state-owned firms, Agence France-Presse reported. Chang's lawyers argued that his detention in South Africa on a U.S. extradition request was unlawful. A ruling is expected to be handed down today.

* Land & Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa appointed Konehali Gugushe acting CFO, according to Creamer Media. Sakhumzi Diza and Nafiza Khan were also named as acting credit chief risk officer and acting chief risk officer, respectively.

* Authorities in Angola and Portugal will start sharing information about taxpayers with ties to both countries in a drive to crack down on tax evasion, Macauhub reported.

* The Democratic Republic of the Congo's electoral commission said provisional results of the presidential election could be counted in "24 to 48 hours," according to Agence France-Presse.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Citigroup to exit China securities JV; Australia proposes superannuation reforms

Europe: Italy passes decree to help bolster Carige; investors sue Nordbank for €1.4B

Latin America: Prisma to go public; Brazil economy seen to grow 2.53% in 2019

North America: Trump's pick withdraws from Fed board nomination; First Financial to buy HopFed

Global Insurance: Everest Re CEO retiring; 2018 nat cat losses $160B; Aussie hail to dent ILS

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline 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.