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Isracard IPO gains steam; no tax hike in Saudi Arabia; Amen Bank gets new chair


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Isracard IPO gains steam; no tax hike in Saudi Arabia; Amen Bank gets new chair


* Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Zakat & Tax said it is not currently considering hiking the country's Islamic tax, or zakat, for the private sector, following reports that the country was mulling increasing zakat on local lenders to 20% of profit from 10%.

* Saudi Investment Bank's shareholders will vote on the acquisition of Japan-based Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd.'s 2.50% stake in the lender at a March 28 extraordinary general assembly meeting, Argaam reported. The shareholders will vote on SAIB's proposal to acquire the stake as treasury shares for 13.50 riyals per share, totaling 253.1 million riyals.

* National Bank of Kuwait SAKP's general assembly named Nasser Messad Abdullah al-Sayar chairman of the board and Ghassan Ahmed Saoud al-Khalid vice chairman.

* National Bank of Fujairah PJSC CEO Vince Cook said the lender plans to raise $350 million through a Tier 1 bond issuance in 2019, The National reported.

* Bahrain-based financial services firm SICO BSC (c) appointed Haitham Haji head of distribution and business development and Jithesh Gopi to head the company's proprietary investments division.


* Bank Hapoalim BM said its board has decided to continue with the process of separating from Isracard Ltd. by carrying out a public offer of the credit card unit's shares and listing them on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The sale would be for roughly 50% of Isracard's shares, Reuters noted. Isracard is reportedly valued at 3 billion shekels, but could fetch higher.

* Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Mohammad Shtayyeh prime minister, replacing Rami Hamdallah, Bloomberg News reported. Abbas also requested that Shtayyeh form a new government as part of efforts to pressure Islamic militant group Hamas.

* Moroccan lenders' weak asset quality and capital adequacy are continuing to weigh heavily on their standalone viability, according to Fitch Ratings.

* Tunisia-based Amen Bank appointed Rached Fourati chairman of its supervisory board, Il Boursa said.


* Denmark-based Investment Fund for Developing Countries provided a 1.2 billion Kenyan shilling capital injection for Sidian Bank Ltd. in a deal that will give the fund an option to convert the loan to a stake of roughly 20% in the Kenyan lender, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Kenya's High Court threw out a liquidation suit against Genghis Capital Ltd. by clients claiming that the investment firm failed to settle their funds deposited in the collapsed Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd., Business Daily Africa wrote. The court ruled that the clients invested their funds in a separate entity, Genghis Capital Unit Trust Fund.

* Kenya's Retirement Benefits Authority warned pension funds against failure to remit member contributions and file member returns, saying those who do not comply will have their licenses revoked, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Cytonn Investments Management Ltd. is set to launch its asset management division in Nairobi today after receiving approval from Kenya's Capital Markets Authority, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd. will close its branch in the Kenyan town of Malindi, effective May 1, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission suspended the country's election processes, citing rampant violence and disruption, Bloomberg News wrote.

* Nigeria-based Continental Reinsurance Plc said an application has been submitted with the country's Securities and Exchange Commission for final approval of the scheme of the company's entire acquisition for cash or shares by Continental Reinsurance African Investments Ltd.

* Baobab Microfinance Bank Managing Director and CEO Kazeem Olarenwaju said the bank will increase its capital base to 5 billion Nigerian naira from the current 2.9 billion naira, The Punch reported.

* Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode signed into law an amendment to pension reform laws that increased contribution rates under the contributory pension scheme to 18%, The Punch reported.

* Fitch Ratings assigned Benin B/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings, with a positive outlook on the long-term ratings. The rating agency also assigned the West African nation a country ceiling of BB+.

* Ghana is seeking a short-term bridge loan of $750 million from Standard Chartered PLC and Standard Bank Group Ltd., Bloomberg News reported.


* South Africa's Absa Group Ltd. has restructured the executive management of its corporate and investment banking division as part of a wider overhaul aimed at increasing revenue from the group's operations in Africa, Bloomberg News reported.

* Nedbank Ltd. CFO Raisibe Morathi said roughly 55% of VBS Mutual Bank's former customers have joined the lender, City Press reported. VBS was liquidated in November 2018.

* Former Credit Suisse Group AG bankers Andrew Pearse, Surjan Singh and Detelina Subeva, who were earlier charged by the U.S. with helping arrange more than $1.4 billion of hidden loans to Mozambique, will fight extradition to the U.K., Bloomberg News reported.

* Zimbabwe is looking to set up a monetary policy committee and establish a benchmark interest rate as part of efforts to stabilize the country's economy and boost confidence in its new currency, Bloomberg News wrote, citing George Guvamatanga, permanent secretary of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Finance.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed the B-/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings of the Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville. The outlook on the long-term ratings is stable.

* Angola's central bank has ceased the contract agreement with Swiss investment company Quantum, which was responsible for the management of $2 billion in assets, Expansão wrote. The decision came after external auditors questioned the central bank about how it would be impacted by situations like the freezing of assets from Quantum worldwide as ordered by a British court last year.


Asia-Pacific: China may let shadow banks resume ops; Westpac, CBA face customer complaints

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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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.