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SSA news through April 28

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SSA news through April 28

*Atlas Mara Ltd. heldtalks with aconsortium of investors exploring a potential acquisition of 's 62.3% stake in and apotential combination of Atlas Mara and Barclays Africa. The consortiumincludes the Mara Group and Bob Diamond's Atlas Merchant Capital, which isreportedly partneringwith Carlyle Group LPto make an offer for the Barclays Africa stake.

* Barclays Africa said higher portfolio provisionsand increased impairments in the rest of Africa, the corporate and investmentbanking division and the South African business banking division led to a sharpyear-over-year increase in its credit loss ratio in the first quarter. Thegroup expects the ratio to increase further due to rising arrears.

*Abdi Mohamed was appointed managing director of , the DailyNation reported.Mohamed, currently COO at Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd., will succeed Kihara Maina,who is pursuing other opportunities outside Barclays Africa.

*Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritius signed an agreement to avoid double taxation andpromote Mauritian investment in the West African nation, Jeune Afrique reported.Youssouf Carius, vice president of Bloomfield Investment Corp., said the doubletaxation agreement, which is similar to what Mauritius now has with eight otherAfrican countries, would make Côte d'Ivoire more attractive to Mauritianinvestment banks and funds.

EAST AFRICA

* KCB Group Ltd. CEO Joshua Oigara called for in the Kenyanbanking industry in the next three years, saying the sector has 20 more banksthan necessary. Oigara said the sector, which consists of 42 financialinstitutions, is facing its worst crisis of confidence in the last 20 years dueto governance and oversight flaws. He added that it was "premature"to speculate whether KCB would exercise its option to acquire a majority stakein , as duediligence on the troubled bank was yet to begin.

*Kenyan lawmakers are considering a proposal to increase the amount ofguaranteed bank deposits to 2 million shillings per customer from the current100,000 shillings in case of a bank collapse, Reuters reported.The proposal comes after Chase Bank became the third Kenyan bank to be put inreceivership in nine months.

*Chase Bank resumed operations April 27, three weeks after being placed underreceivership following a liquidity issue, Africa News wrote.Separately, clients of ImperialBank Ltd., which is also under receivership, have expressed theneed for a speedy resolution of the bank, accordingto The Star. Mahmood Khambiye, spokesperson of the IBL Depositors LobbyGroup, said the bank will either be acquired, or be injected with capital.

*Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge said the regulator is preparingproposals for lawmakers to revise current laws in order to have errant bankmanagers imprisoned for at least 20 years, The Star wrote.Njoroge added that the central bank will go after those who mismanaged ChaseBank and National Bank of KenyaLtd. and will make penalties for misconduct "stiffer thanbefore."

*National Bank confirmed that former CEO and managing director MunirAhmed has left the bank, according to Business Daily Africa. The lender, whichhad placed Ahmed and five other top managers on forced leave in March amid anongoing internal audit, is under fire for belatedly notifying the KenyanCapital Markets Authority about the moves, Business Daily Africa wrote.

*Family Bank Ltd. hasfound a successor to CEO Peter Munyiri, who is due to step down in June, andwill make an announcement after securing the Kenyan central bank's approval,The Star reported.Separately, shareholders approved the bank's plan to raise 4 billion shillingsthrough a rights offering that involves the issuance of 200 million new shares.Family Bank will use proceeds from the transaction to fund its expansion intoEast Africa, where Munyiri said the bank intends to make a "cautiousentry" over 2017, accordingto Bloomberg News.

WEST AFRICA

*Côte d'Ivoire will sell half of its remaining 10% stake in aspart of the government's privatization efforts. The government last year sold a24% stake in the bank to Morocco-based Attijariwafa Bank SA.

*Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he remains opposed to the devaluationof the naira despite the currency's steep fall against the dollar on the blackmarket, arguing that a previous devaluation in the 1980s did not help Nigeria,Reuters wrote.

*The Central Bank of Nigeria imposed a combined fine of 3.2 billion naira onUnited Bank for AfricaPlc, Zenith BankPlc, Guaranty TrustBank Plc and SterlingBank Plc for various regulatory infractions committed in 2015,Punch reported.United Bank for Africa was handed the biggest fine, of roughly 2.97 billionnaira.

*The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested  ManagingDirector Nnamdi Okonkwo as part of an investigation into financial transactionsmade in 2015 during the final months of former President Goodluck Jonathan'sterm, Reuters reports. The commission also arrested Martins Izuogbe, thebank's head of operations, Punch writes. The two executives are being questioned overallegations of helping former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke laundercash to be distributed to electoral officials prior to the 2015 presidentialelection.

*First Bank Nigeria HoldingsPlc group managing director Urum Eke said the bank will not need toraise fresh capitaleven after reporting a loan loss provision of 119.32 billion naira in 2015. Thegroup intends to gradually lay off about 1,000 employees to achieve a7,000-strong workforce, Bloomberg News reports.

*Access Bank Plcshareholders approved a plan to raise 100 billion naira of capital to improvethe bank's balance sheet and capital structure, accordingto The Nation. Under the plan, the bank will issue nonconvertible notes,bonds and other instruments either on a stand-alone basis or launch a debtissuance program.

*Bank of Ghana Governor Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku said the central bank isreviewing the uniform base rate model, which is used as a guide for settinglending rates, Ghana Business News reported. Issahaku said the central bank is looking toboost transparency and uniformity in the way the rates are quoted.

*The Ghanaian National Insurance Commission is considering the introduction of Islamicinsurance, or takaful, in the country, Business Day Ghana reported.Insurance Commissioner Lydia Lariba Bawa said the commission will soon engagewith a consultant to advise it on the implementation of takaful in Ghana.  

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The IMF said Mozambique admitted tohaving more than $1 billion in undisclosed debt, days after the fund suspendedlending to the country over the discovery of the extra debt, Reuters reported. The two parties will discuss the"macroeconomic implications" of the undisclosed debt, which bringsMozambique's total foreign debt to about $9.64 billion, a level that an IMFsource told the newswire is nearing "unsustainability."

* Investors who participated inMozambique's exchange of a government-guaranteed $850 million bond issued bytuna fishing firm Ematum for a $726 million bond directly issued by thegovernment are considering legal action against deal arrangers  and Credit Suisse Group AG, IFR reported. The investors claim that thearrangers withheld crucial information by not disclosing loans that theypreviously issued to state-owned entities in Mozambique.

* Standard Bank Group Ltd. Arno Daehnke group CFO and anexecutive director to the boards of the group and of ,with effect from May 1.

* Ten former directors of ,including former CEO Leon Kirkinis, have challenged the 2.03 billion rand indamage claims filed against them by certain shareholders hit by ABIL's collapsein 2014, Bloomberg News wrote. The directors denied violating their legal dutiesto the shareholders.

* Angola prepared a presidential decreethat would remove Portugal-based Banco BPI's voting rights in , Observadorreported. The decree, which if enforced would automaticallymake Isabel dos Santos leader of the Angolan bank, is in retaliation to thePortuguese government's decision to lift a cap on shareholder voting rights atbanks in Portugal.

*Meanwhile, Spanish lender CaixaBank SA and dos Santos resumed regarding Portugal-basedBanco BPI SA, severaldays after a previous deal involving the sale of the Angolan investor's stakein Banco BPI to CaixaBank fell through. Portuguese Economy Minister ManuelCaldeira Cabral said the two shareholders in Banco BPI are trying to find asolution that would permit the Portuguese lender to offload its risky Angolanassets in accordance with EU regulations.

* The merger of unit andBanco Privado AtlânticoSA completed, followingapproval from the Angolan government and central bank.

* Angola opened an inquiry intomanagement conduct at Banco EspíritoSanto SA's local unit, Reuters reported. Angolan Attorney General João Maria de Sousa saidthe investigation was an initiative of the shareholders of Banco Espírito SantoAngola, which was reincarnated as Banco Económico SA.

* Banco BIC SA is now officially a negotiating member ofthe Angola Securities and Debt Stock Exchange, according to Agência Angola Press. The twoinstitutions signed an agreement that will enable the bank's integration inregulated markets.

* The Bank of Botswana's monetary policycommittee left the bank rate unchanged at 6%. The central bank said the outlook for pricestability is positive and that inflation is expected to stay within themedium-term target of 3% to 6%.

* Fitch Ratings Lesotho's long-term foreign-and local-currency issuer default ratings to B+/BB- from BB-/BB, with stableoutlooks. The rating agency expects a continued deterioration in the country'spublic finances, noting that political tensions are complicating any policyresponse to the growing fiscal deficits.

* The African Development Bank approveda $25 million trade finance line of credit facility to Zimbabwe-basedCentral Africa BuildingSociety to help the bank in providing trade finance to Zimbabweansmall and medium-sized enterprises. The move marks the AfDB's firstnon-sovereign intervention in the Zimbabwean financial sector in recent years.