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Angolan bank BFA to launch IPO; Moody's revises DR Congo outlook

* Banks including Standard Bank Group Ltd., HSBC Holdings Plc and Citigroup Inc. were told to wait another week to confront South African global clothing and furniture retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV, which has lost more than 84% of its market value in the three days since it launched a probe into accounting irregularities and CEO Markus Jooste stepped down, Bloomberg News reported. The firm's total exposure to banks and other creditors stood at nearly €18 billion as of March-end, according to the report.

* U.K.-based Aldermore Group Plc's shareholders have voted in favor of accepting South Africa-based FirstRand Ltd.'s offer to acquire the company.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group BSC is in advanced talks to acquire a local bank to add a new line to the group's business, The National wrote, citing CEO Hisham Al Rayes.

* Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Co. BSC's board proposed to increase the firm's paid-up capital to 14.3 million dinars from 7.2 million dinars through a bonus share issue??, as well as an authorized capital increase to 20 million dinars from 10 million dinars, Reuters reported.

* Iranian banks and credit institutions are banned from opening short-term deposit accounts by March 20 next year, as per a central bank directive, the Financial Tribune wrote. Financial institutions are currently only allowed to open one-year deposits accounts with a maximum of 15% interest rates in line with a separate directive.

* The total income of eight Iranian government-owned banks — including Bank Melli Iran Inc., Bank Sepah and Export Development Bank of Iran — and the Central Bank of Iran for the 2018-2019 fiscal year was projected at 845.2 trillion rials, indicating an annual increase of more than 86 trillion rials in revenue, the Financial Tribune wrote. However, their total expenses was estimated at 820.2 trillion rials.

* Omani banks' asset quality, capital adequacy ratio and provision coverage are robust despite a slowdown in the country's economic activities due to weak oil prices, according to Central Bank of Oman Executive President Tahir Salim Al Amri, the Times of Oman wrote. He added that banks have contained their gross nonperforming loans at below 2%.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Bank Audi SAL and Byblos Bank SAL's long-term issuer default ratings at B and B-, respectively. The agency also affirmed both banks' viability rating at "b-."

* Capital Intelligence affirmed Arab Bank Plc's financial strength rating at BBB+.

* Bank Leumi le-Israel BM is blocking payments to bitcoin exchanges, Finance Magnates wrote. The lender said the move was in line with an order from the Bank of Israel.

* The head of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, Azzam Alshawa, said the authority aims to become a central bank, adding that it does not plan to issue its own currency, Al Ghad reported.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Sterling Bank Plc revived a plan to sell bonds worth 27 billion Nigerian naira in the first half of 2018 on expectations of a "more favorable" interest rate outlook, Abubakar Suleiman, an executive director of the lender, told Bloomberg News. The bank will use proceeds from the transaction as working capital and to increase its capital adequacy ratio to 14% from 11.4% as of September-end.

* Ecobank Transnational Inc. unit Ecobank Rwanda SA is planning to shut down five branches across the country in January next year, potentially impacting more than 50 jobs, KT Press wrote.

* Togo economist Kako Nubukpo was suspended from his position as economic director of the International Organization of La Francophonie after making sharp criticisms of the political arrangements underlying the CFA franc, Jeune Afrique reported.

* The IMF said it will disburse roughly $136.5 million to Ivory Coast after completing a second review of the country's aid program, bringing total disbursements to approximately $371.3 million.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos said Banco de Fomento Angola SA could sell a stake of as much as 25% in an IPO in the first quarter of 2019, Bloomberg News reported. Banco BIC SA, meanwhile, has already hired financial advisers for a potential sale of a stake, the size of which has yet to be determined. Dos Santos has investments in the two banks.

* Angolan banks continue to retain customer funds as a condition for foreign-currency purchases despite a recent ban on the practice by the country's central bank, Novo Jornal reported. Angola's central bank strictly limits access to hard currency due to an acute shortage of dollars caused by lower oil prices and a freeze on dollar clearing services to the country by foreign banks.

* Moody's lowered the rating outlook on the Democratic Republic of the Congo to negative from stable, citing a significant rise in macroeconomic volatility and external pressures amid the country's increasingly polarized political scene.

* Fitch Ratings said a rebound of South Africa's weak business confidence is less likely if former African Union Commission chairwoman and President Jacob Zuma's ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is elected as leader of the country's ruling African National Congress party, Bloomberg News wrote.

* The South Africa Social Security Agency has picked the country's Post Office to take over distribution of social grants from current service provider, Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc., effective April 1, 2018, Bloomberg News reported, citing Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.

* A judge freed ousted Zimbabwean Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo on bail, Reuters reported. Chombo, who was taken into custody by the military in the run-up to Robert Mugabe's resignation as president, was charged with fraud and abuse of office during his time as government minister more than a decade ago.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China Guangfa Bank fined over lending violations; ICICI unit picks banks for IPO

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton, and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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