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Mizrahi Tefahot to pay more dividends; FirstRand names new CEO

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Mizrahi Tefahot to pay more dividends; FirstRand names new CEO

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. reported fourth-quarter 2017 net profit attributable to shareholders of 365 million Israeli shekels, up from 265 million shekels a year earlier. The Israeli lender also updated its dividend policy, increasing the rate of dividends to be distributed to shareholders from the first quarter to up to 40% of net profit from 30%, Globes noted.

* Deutsche Bank AG is looking to hire more people in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia as part of expansion plans for the Middle East, Bloomberg News reported, citing Jamal al-Kishi, the German lender's CEO for the Middle East and Africa.

* Goldman Sachs Saudi Arabia secured a license from Tadawul to conduct brokerage services and deal as a principal and an agent in the stock exchange.

* Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey said the central bank is able to deal with any pressure on the Saudi Arabian riyal's peg to the U.S. dollar amid expected interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve, according to Reuters.

* Mubarak Rashid al-Mansouri, governor of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, told Reuters that he expects a final decision on a new system of setting the Emirates Interbank Offered Rate this year and is hopeful that it will be introduced "anytime soon."

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Qatar-based Al Khaleej Takaful Insurance Co. QPSC's long-term issuer credit and insurer financial strength ratings at BBB+, with a stable outlook.

* First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC issued $650 million in international bonds.

* Tehran's prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, said 1,300 bank accounts of unregulated foreign-exchange currency traders in Iran have been frozen as part of a crackdown on the country's forex black market, according to the Financial Tribune.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Compagnie Nationale d'Assurance Agricole du Sénégal, which specializes in insurance covering agricultural risks, is planning to increase its capital to 5 billion CFA francs from 1.5 billion CFA francs, Agence Ecofin wrote.

* United Capital Plc proposed a dividend for 2017 of 35 Nigerian kobo per 50 kobo ordinary share, payable March 28 to shareholders on the register March 8.

* Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd. is set to receive a seven-year, $150 million loan from the International Finance Corp. to allow the bank to expand its lending operations to under-served small firms in the country, Business Daily Africa reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Johan Burger will retire as FirstRand Ltd.'s group CEO, effective March 31, and will be replaced by Deputy CEO Alan Pullinger. Meanwhile, MMI Holdings Ltd. Deputy CEO Mary Vilakazi is stepping down to become group COO at FirstRand.

* Newly appointed South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said he has meetings already lined up with credit rating agencies, Reuters reported. Nene also said the budget presented by former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba last week might not be enough to prevent further downgrades of the country's credit ratings.

* The Banco Central de São Tomé e Príncipe said Banco Privado de São Tomé e Príncipe, which is in a pre-bankruptcy situation, will be sold totally or partially in a public tender, Macauhub reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China unveils bond issue rules; India tells banks to fix operational gaps

Europe: StanChart swings to FY'17 profit from year-ago loss; Swiss Life profit rises YOY

Latin America: Fosun inks deal for Guide Investimentos; Grupo Sura Q4 profit doubles YOY

North America: CVB Financial buying smaller Calif. peer; BofA to open 500 branches

North America Insurance: 20 US states sue govt to end ACA; Lockton dissociates from NRA-backed programs

Leo Magno, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano 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. S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.