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MENA news through May 4

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MENA news through May 4

MIDDLE EAST

* Following a security breach that leaked personaldata of thousands of customers, Qatar National Bank SAQ said it is ramping upmeasures to protect client privacy, Reuters wrote.

* The hackers responsible for the cyberattack at QatarNational Bank have attacked another bank and are set to leak the data in thenext few days, a security expert told Gulf News. Mohammad Amin Hasbini, senior securityresearcher at Kaspersky Lab, said the hackers are known as Turkish BozkurtHackers. The news follows a in late that targeted BangladeshBank, stealing $81 million.

* HSBC Holdings Plc reportedly intends tosell its Lebaneseunit, which comprises a corporate banking business, three retail branches andabout 200 employees. The bank is in talks with several partiesincluding BLOM BANK SAL.

* Saudi Arabia is considering reducing the reservesbanks need to hold against customer deposits in order to free up funds madeavailable for loans, Bloomberg News wrote, citing the Institute of International Finance.

* SaudiStock Exchange CEO Khalid al-Hussan said advisers for thebourse's IPO will be selected in coming days, Reuters noted. The IPO is expected to take place in 2018. Reuters reported separately that the exchange plans to startin the first half of 2017 settling trades within two working days of executionrather than the same day currently.

* Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority said thecountry plans to loosen foreign ownership restrictions in its stockmarket, according to Reuters. An eligible foreigninvestor would be allowed to own a stake of just under 10% of a single company,compared to the current rule permitting stakes of a maximum of 5% of a listedcompany to be owned by a foreign investor together with its affiliates. The newpolicy, including confirmation of its launch date, will be published by the endof the first half of 2017.

* SaudiHollandi Bank shareholders approved an increase in the bank's capital to about11.43 billion Saudi riyals from approximately 5.72 billion riyals, bycapitalizing about 1.67 billion riyals from retained earnings and approximately4.04 billion riyals from statutory reserves through a 1-for-1 bonus issue.

* Islamic Development Bank's Islamic Corporation for theDevelopment of the Private Sector raised $300 million in its debut sukuk offering ininternational capital markets.

* Fitch Ratings downgraded Gulf International Bank B.S.C.'s long-term issuerdefault rating to A- from A and its short-term issuer default rating to F2 fromF1 following the downgrade of Saudi Arabia.

* Meanwhile, the agency Dubai-based anA-/F1 long- and short-term issuer default ratings with a stable outlook on thelong-term rating.

* The board of directors of the UAE Banks Federation,which comprises 49 member banks, re-elected Chairman Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair andVice Chairman Omran Abdulla Omran Taryam, according to Gulf News.

* Abu Dhabi-based Invest AD Asset Management PJSC appointed Farasal-Ramahi CEO, succeeding Nazem al-Kudsi, who left in 2015, Reuters wrote.

* OmanArab Bank SAOC and MasterCard Inc. launched the bank's first corporatecredit card, Al Bawaba reported.

* Sharjah Islamic Bank raised a three-year syndicated murabaha financingfacility of $265 million. The Abu Dhabi-listed bank increased the facilityafter its target of $200 million was oversubscribed.

* Bahrain's Ahli United Bank B.S.C., Jordan-based and Abu Dhabi-basedFinance House PJSCreported first-quarter results. Net profit attributable to the owners of AhliUnited Bank increased to $154.6 million from $147.2 million. At ArabBank Group, net profit after taxes and provisions rose to$218.3 million from $217.2 million year over year, while consolidated netprofit came in at 25.54 million UAE dirhams at Finance House,compared to 25.53 million dirhams a year earlier.

* First-quarter profits declined on a yearly basis atUnion National Bank -PJSC, HSBC Bank OmanSAOG and Bank ofSharjah PJSC. Union National Bank's profit fell to 450 million UAEdirhams from 615 million dirhams, Gulf News noted, while HSBC Bank Oman's net profit dropped to 3.5million Omani riyals from 3.8 million riyals, CPI Financial wrote. Net profit fell to 81 million dirhams from 85 million dirhams at Bankof Sharjah.

NORTH AFRICA

*Commercial International Bank(Egypt) SAE grantedBeltone Financial Holdings a two-week extension to put together an offer toacquire CI Capital Holding CoSAE. The initial deadline was April 28.

* African Export-Import Bank President Benedict OkeyOramah said the lender plans to raise about $3 billion in 2016 througheurobonds, syndications and bi-lateral and institutional lending tofinance its activities, The Africa Report noted.