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Diamond in Africa; change of guard at HSBC MENA ops; Casablanca Stock Market demutualized

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Diamond in Africa; change of guard at HSBC MENA ops; Casablanca Stock Market demutualized

Welcometo S&P Global Market Intelligence's new Middle East and Africa Daily Dose,our regional news overview published by 9 a.m., Dubai time, Monday to Friday. 

Diamond'sAfrica push: Bob Diamond, co-founder of , said the company isclosing in on purchasing a bank in one of the seven African marketswhere Atlas Mara already has a presence, Bloomberg News reports. Diamond said his plan is toestablish a financial services business across the continent, with operationsin 10 to 15 key countries. Speaking at the London BusinessSchool, Diamond called Africa the main engine of global economic growth for thenext 25 years and said that with lower commodity prices bringing down bankvaluations in countries such as Nigeria, it was a good time to make Africanacquisitions. Atlas Mara is also considering an offer for Mozambican bankMoza Banco SA, AgenceEcofin reports.

* Togo will become the 40th member of the , Jeune Afrique reports.

*U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will this week meet with representatives ofsome of the U.K.'s biggest banks to discuss the lifting of certain sanctionsagainst Iran, accordingtoSky News. The talks, which would also include officials from German and Frenchbanks, come as some European lenders remain wary of doing business related toIran for fear of getting hit by remaining U.S. sanctions.

*Saudi Arabia is eyeing the listing of oil firm Aramco in New York, London andHong Kong and is hoping to convince other oil firms such as ExxonMobil andSinopec into taking strategic stakes in Aramco, insiders tell The Daily Telegraph. The transaction is intended to take place assoon as next year or the year after.

MIDDLEEAST AND NORTH AFRICA

HSBCMENA chief enters Saudi government: Mohammad Al Tuwaijri, CEO ofHSBC Holdings Plc'sMENA operations, steppeddown from his role after the Saudi Arabian government appointed himdeputy minister of economy and planning, effective immediately, Bloomberg Newsreports. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Robin Jones, deputy CEO ofthe bank's MENA business.

* Ahmed al-Kholifey succeeded Fahad al-Mubarak as of the Saudi ArabianMonetary Agency, Bloomberg News reports. The new head of the regulator said his main priority is tomaintain monetary stability in Saudi Arabia and support the government's Vision2030 strategy, Gulf News writes, citing Al Sharq Al Awsat.

*The Saudi Arabian insurance industry is set to be among the main beneficiariesof the government's Vision 2030 economic strategy, which aims to reduce thekingdom's dependence on oil over the long term, the Middle East InsuranceReview writes, citing industry expertMurad Zureikat. He predicted that Vision 2030 would boost growth in theinsurance sector by at least 15% annually over the next five years, as spendingon privatization and other projects would drive up demand for insuranceproducts.

* Meanwhile, Argaam reportsthat about 46% of the first-quarter revenues of Saudi Arabian insurers camefrom the health sector, about 5.4 billion riyals, increasing 454.6 million riyalsfrom the same period a year ago. Car insurance represented 38%, compared to 32%in the first quarter of 2015.

* IPOactivity in the GCC remained low in the first quarter, registering just onestock market listing in the period, Arabian Business notes, citing a PricewaterhouseCoopersreport. Saudi Arabian company Middle East Healthcare Co. was the solecompany to list in the region during the period. SaudiArabia has more offerings in the pipeline, Argaam adds.

*The United Arab Emirates cabinet authorized the establishment of a centralIslamic finance authority tasked with supervising the Sharia boards of banksand financial institutions in the country, Reuters reports, citing state news agencyWAM. The country's central bank will be responsible for designing andestablishing the Sharia supervisory body.

*Ahli Bank QSCcommenced talks to raise a three-year, $250 million loan, which will be used inpart to refinance an existing $200 million facility that will mature in 2017,insiders tell Reuters.

*Boubyan Bank K.S.C.P.lowered guidance on its $250 million perpetual Additional Tier 1 sukuk to the6.875% area from initial price thoughts of a 7% area, IFR reports. Demand for the notes, whichare noncallable for five years, exceeded $800 million. Final pricing isexpected to take place today.

*Burgan Bank K.P.S.C. reported first-quarter group netincome attributed to equity holders of the bank of 14.3 million Kuwaiti dinarsand underlying net income of 19.1 million dinars. Net interest income reached40.6 million dinars, up 7.4% from the year-ago period.

* A10-gigabyte file posted on the Internet purportedly contains sensitivefinancial information on several thousand Invest Bank PSC customers, International Business TimesUK reports. A spokesperson for InvestBank said no new data breach has occurred at the lender, and the published datais the same as that was stolen by hackers last year.

* The Egyptian central bank noted that five of the country's40 banks hold 59.6% of the nation's banking assets, accordingto Daily News Egypt. ,Banque Misr - SAE andCommercial International Bank(Egypt) SAE are among the five. The publication also has another articlecovering the news.

* Algerian home loans have been rising rapidly in recentyears and now constitute 7% to 8% of banks' loan portfolios, Liberté reports,citing the Algerian banking association.

Morocco completed the demutualization of the CasablancaStock Market, Agence Ecofin reports.Banks will hold 39% of the bourse's shares, and insurance companies 11%. TheCaisse de Dépôt et deGestion will hold a quarter of the shares, although this will dropto 5% if a foreign investor such as the London Stock Exchange should come onboard.

* The Moroccan central bank reported asharp increase in nonperforming loans in March, with such loans rising by 1.5billion dirhams in the month to 60 billion dirhams, or 7.7% of outstanding bankloans, Jeune Afrique says.

* With rates cut 25 basis points to 2.25% in March andfurther rate cuts not ruled out at the central bank's June meeting, Finances News Hebdo notesthat as demand for credit drops amid an economic slowdown it will be adifficult 2016 for Moroccan banks.

* The BanqueMarocaine du Commerce Exterieur at its May 30 annual meeting coulddiscuss international acquisitions and one or even more bond issues, Finances News Hebdo says.

EASTAND WEST AFRICA

Nigeriancentral bank joins bank probe: The Central Bank of Nigeria said it is part of an ongoinginvestigation by law enforcement authorities regarding certain financialtransactions at some commercial banks in the country, Vanguard reports. The central bank statementcomes as the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is probing themanaging directors of FidelityBank Plc, Sterling BankPlc and Access BankPlc with regard to bank transactions allegedly made by formerPetroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke.

*Wema Bank Plcshareholders approved the lender's plans to expand the business through anM&A transaction with any financial or nonfinancial institution, Vanguard writes. The bank also receivedshareholder backing for a capital increase in preparation for the M&A.

* Following a successful IPO, has beenlisted on the Ghana Stock Exchange, African Markets reports.

* I&M Bank(Rwanda) Ltd. ispoised to go public this year, African Markets says.Eric Rwigamba,director general for financial sector development at the Rwandan financeministry, said the IPO date will be announced soon. The government is sellingits 19.8% in the I&M HoldingsLtd. unitin the IPO, Business Daily Africa notes.

* BANK OFAFRICA – MALI's listing on West African stock exchange BRVM, inIvory Coast, has not yet been finalized, Financial Afrik reports.The bank's market listing was meant to be completed no more than 90 days afterits IPO on March 30. Market sources appear divided on whether the delay is dueto technical failures or more serious compliance issues.

*Kenyan lenders are calling for an amendment to a credit information sharing lawto allow the inclusion of all creditors in the information exchange frameworkin a bid to drive down the cost of loans, accordingto Business Daily Africa. Kenya BankersAssociation Chairman Joshua Oigara said all loan providers, includingnonbanking firms such as phone and utility companies, should be required tofully share borrower information with each other.

*Imperial Bank Ltd.owner Aly Popat is among more than 190 Kenyans named in the controversialPanama Papers, accordingto The Star.

*UT Bank Ghana Ltd.shareholders approved a capitalincrease of 200 million cedi through a renounceable rights issueand private placement in a bid to improve liquidity. Shareholders approvedincreasing the number of ordinary shares with no par value to 5 billion.

* MauBankLtd., formed following the merger of the Mauritius Post andCooperative Bank and National Commercial Bank, booked a profit in the firstquarter, L'Express says.The bank is now looking for a CFO, following the departure of Ashraf Esmael.Vishuen Vydelingum, formerly director of corporate banking for , recentlyjoined as corporate director.

CENTRALAND SOUTHERN AFRICA

Bankof Central African States to standardize reserve requirements: Ata meeting of its monetary policy committee, the Bankof Central African States decided to standardize required reserves acrossmember states, Financial Afrik reports. Previously,these had been set based on the liquidity situation in each country's bankingsystem.

* Thepressure on Zambia's foreign reserves has declined, with the kwacha recoveringagainst the U.S. dollar on the back of rising copper prices, Agence Ecofin reports.

*South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday that his countrywill try to convince S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings not to takenegative ratings actions on South Africa, saying the country was likely nearing"a turning point" after many years of falling growth, Reuters reports. South Africa last weekavoided a ratingsdowngrade after Moody's confirmed the country's long-term government bond andissuer ratings at Baa2 with a negative outlook.

* AAA Activos Lda. Chairman Carlos Manuel de Sao Vicentesaid the company agreed to sell its stake in to investmentholding company Inpal-Investimentos e Participacoes Lda. The Standard Bank Group Ltd. unit and Inpal are working to finalize the transaction, BloombergNews reports.

*Spanish lender CaixaBankSA yesterday presented a prospectus to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission detailing its offer for a fulltakeover of Portugal-based BancoBPI SA, gripped by a dispute between leading shareholders onreducing the lender's exposure to Angolan assets in line with new ECBregulations, DiárioEconómico reports. BPI has eight days todecide on the offer. Meanwhile, Angola's central bank chief, Valter Filipe, met BPI CEO Fernando Ulrich inLuanda earlier this month to discuss the takeover, according to Angola's O País.

* Separately, Filipe promised to bring the country's financialsystem in line with international standards and noted that Angola's financial sector needs to drive thecountry's increased domestic production at a time of falling oil prices,Macauhub reports.

* Angolan banks have started using a new cross-border paymentsystem in renminbi, according to a reporton news website Macauhub that cited a Bank of China official. Launched byMacau's Monetary Authority, the so-called renminbi real time settlement systemaims to foster international use of the Chinese currency and boost tradebetween China and commodities-rich Portuguese-speaking nations in Africa andBrazil.

*Washington will review US$400 million in annual financing to Mozambiquefollowing the revelation in April of US$1 billion in "hidden"government debt, according to a Lusa report citedby Diário Económico. The U.S., thebiggest bilateral donor to the country, said it will also review assistance,"particularly any assistance to the central government." The IMF, theWorld Bank and other lendershave suspended loans due to the revelation, exacerbating Mozambique's economicproblems. Meanwhile, the parliament in Maputo vowed to establish a committee toinvestigate the issue, Zitamar reports.

INOTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Unofficial results project Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor ofDavao, Philippines, to have won the country's presidential election, BBC News reports. With 90% ofballots counted, Duterte led the national polls with about 39% of the votes.

* Australia& New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and are looking intoalleged fraud involving "hundreds" of home loans backed by Chinese income documents, The Australian Financial Review reports.

* AXA is willing to further grow its presence in Brazilvia acquisitions andexpects the South American country's insurance sector to expand 10% in 2016,Bloomberg News reports, citing Philippe Jouvelot, president of the French insurer'sBrazilian subsidiary.

* Brazil's federal prosecutor filed a against regardingalleged bribes to Brazil's tax appeals council, the CARF, Valor Econômico reports.

XanaKakoty, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to thisreport.

TheDaily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. Londontime. Some external links may require a subscription.