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Citigroup snaps up Leumi stake; South Africa slips into recession

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Citigroup snaps up Leumi stake; South Africa slips into recession

* Moody's said it expects global sukuk issuance to reach between $90 billion and $100 billion in 2018, in line with last year's levels, Trade Arabia noted.

* Citigroup Inc.'s Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO Jim Cowles will depart the bank at the end of the year, CEO Michael Corbat said in a memo to staff.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* U.S. stock market index provider MSCI Inc. signed an agreement with Tadawul to create a joint tradeable index that could serve as the basis for investment instruments such as derivatives and exchange-traded funds. Separately, Tadawul said it will introduce exchange-traded derivatives in the first half of 2019, and that it plans to launch further additional derivative products as part of its strategy to diversify product offerings and provide market participants with more investment opportunities.

* Saudi Arabia's Cabinet approved the appointment of Abdullah bin Nasser al-Dawood as representative of listed companies on Tadawul's board of directors, Argaam reported. It also approved the appointment of Hashem Othman Alhekail as representative of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency on Tadawul's board.

* Wafa Insurance Inc. said its shareholders will vote Sept. 10 on whether to proceed with a capital raise, Argaam noted. Shareholders will vote on the insurer's dissolution should the capital hike fail to be approved.

* Bupa Arabia For Cooperative Insurance Co. said it purchased 75,916 of its own shares for its employee incentive scheme at an average purchase price of 97 Saudi Arabian riyals per share, totalling roughly 7.4 million riyals.

* Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is expected to sign a five-year, $11 billion syndicated loan in the week of Sept. 10 to help fund the nation's economic transformation plans, insiders told Reuters. The debt is structured as a club loan, with 14 to 16 banks committing up to $1 billion at three different levels.

* More than 10 private equity firms, including Canadian real estate firm Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Colony Capital Inc. and Abu Dhabi Financial Group were shortlisted as contenders to acquire part or all of funds managed by Abraaj Group Ltd., The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an email sent to investors. Final bids by interested parties for certain funds of Abraaj or its entire fund management platform are due Sept. 14.

* Dubai-based investment advisory platform Sarwa Digital Wealth Ltd. plans to expand its services to the wider Middle East and North Africa following its $1.3 million fundraising, The National reported. Sarwa CEO Mark Chahwan said the company plans to raise a further $2 million to $4 million in a funding round planned for 2019.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings revised to negative from stable the outlooks on the long-term foreign-currency ratings and financial strength ratings of Oman-based Ahli Bank SAOG, Bank Muscat SAOG and National Bank of Oman SAOG, following a similar action on the sovereign.

* Burgan Bank KPSC said it will commence its capital increase on Sept. 20. The bank plans to increase its capital by 10.6% through the issuance of 240 million shares.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Citigroup has won a tender to acquire the Israeli government's remaining 5.37% stake in Bank Leumi le-Israel BM worth roughly 2 billion shekels, Reuters reported, citing Israel's finance ministry.

* U.S.-Israeli billionaire Shari Arison said she will sell her controlling stake in Bank Hapoalim BM after having received permission from the Bank of Israel to reduce her stake to below 5% from 20%, Reuters reported. Terms of Hapoalim directors connected to Arison will end immediately to avoid any conflicts of interest, while the central bank said Chairman Oded Eran will continue in his role as he is not linked to Arison despite being appointed by her family. Following the sale, Hapoalim will become a publicly traded bank without a controlling core.

* Israeli oil and gas conglomerate Delek Group Ltd. sold a further 4.9% stake in insurer Phoenix Holdings Ltd. for 256 million shekels.

* CI Ratings affirmed Morocco-based Crédit du Maroc SA's BB+ financial strength rating.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Ltd. reported unaudited first-half group profit after tax and exceptional items of 3.76 billion shillings, up from 3.41 billion shillings a year earlier.

* Kenya's Family Bank Ltd. is seeking to avoid losses from a case against a former employee after a court found that its former credit manager, Mary Wamaitha, falsified a title deed belonging to a client in 2014 and used it to take out a 1.8 million shilling loan from the bank, Standard Digital reported. The bank stands to lose the loaned funds if the forged deed reverts to the client.

* Bank of Kigali CFO Nathalie Mpaka said the Rwandan lender sold a 30% stake in unit BK General Insurance to Mauritius-based Swan General Ltd. for 860 million francs as part of plans to enter Rwanda's largely untapped life insurance business, Reuters wrote. The bank is also looking to increase the unit's issued share capital to 5 billion francs from 2.9 billion francs, which will see Swan pay a further 640 million francs in relation to its stake.

* Unity Bank PLC CFO Ebenezer Kolawole said the Nigerian lender sold 400 billion naira of bad loans to a unit of Frontier Capital Group in a deal that helped the bank sign an agreement with a foreign equity investor for a cash injection, which the lender hopes to finalize in the first half of 2019, Bloomberg News reported. Frontier Capital Alternative Asset made an initial payment of 6.4 billion naira for the assets, Kolawole noted.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South Africa fell into its first recession since 2009 after the country's GDP shrank an annualized 0.7% quarter over quarter after a revised 2.6% contraction in the previous quarter. Bloomberg and the Financial Times also covered.

* South African insurer Discovery Ltd. said it is on track to launch its own bank this year after it agreed to acquire FirstRand Ltd.'s 25.01% stake in Discovery Bank for a total combined acquisition price of 1.8 billion rand. The transaction will be funded by an equity issuance limited to the purchase price.

* Holders of defaulted Mozambican bonds are facing "substantial" losses and government efforts to restructure the debt are likely to be lengthy and could extend beyond this year, according to Moody's.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Tokyo Century may raise Indonesian bank stake; Philippines OKs Axa/XL Group deal

Europe: Danske Estonia handled $30B; SocGen's €1.1B penalty; London bank chief arrested

Latin America: Venezuela ups reserve requirements for banks; merger of 2 Panama banks completed

North America: Wells probing gender bias claims in wealth division; NCUA liquidates Melrose CU

Global Insurance: Scor rejects Covea bid; S&P, A.M. Best reinsurance reports; Munich Re in US M&A

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.