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Dubai payments firm tables London IPO; Standard Bank to cut 1,200 jobs

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Dubai-based payments processor Network International LLC is pressing ahead with its plan to list on the London Stock Exchange, in a move that could drive its valuation to about $3 billion. The company, which is 51%-owned by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, also appointed Rohinton Kalifa as its new chairman, replacing Abdulla Qassem. Kalifa is a former CEO of U.K.-based payment processing company Worldpay Ltd.

* Moody's said the outlook on Saudi Arabia's banking system remains stable, driven by a planned increase in government spending in 2019. The outlook on Kuwait's banking system is also stable, driven by expectations that continued high levels of government spending will provide favorable credit conditions for Kuwaiti lenders, the rating agency noted.

* Emirates NBD Bank PJSC issued $1 billion in perpetual bonds, Cbonds reported.

* Fitch Ratings downgraded Commercial Bank PSQC's viability rating to "bb+" from "bbb-" and upgraded Qatar Islamic Bank QPSC's viability rating to "bbb" from "bbb-." The agency affirmed the two Qatari lender's long- and short-term issuer default ratings at A/F1. Also affirmed were the A/F1 long- and short-term issuer default ratings of Qatar International Islamic Bank QPSC, Ahli Bank QSC and Al Khalij Commercial Bank PQSC, International Bank of Qatar QSC and Barwa Bank QSC, with stable outlooks on the long-term ratings.

* United Arab Emirates state-owned fund Mubadala Investment Co. suspended future business dealings with U.S. bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. due to pending litigation concerning the 1Malaysia Development Berhad corruption scandal, Reuters reported.

* Bahrain's Ithmaar Holding BSC said its board is in talks to recapitalize the company in 2019 and is considering plans to restructure the group's existing share capital. Ithmaar's majority shareholder is also considering a capital injection of up to $300 million during the second half.

* U.K.-based Standard Chartered PLC's private banking unit named Ali Hammad market head of private banking in the Middle East and North Africa, Reuters wrote.

* HSBC Bank Oman SAOG's board will propose a cash dividend of 9.3 baisa per share for 2018, up from 5.7 baisa per share a year ago.

* Kuwait's Capital Market Authority revoked the securities activities license of Al-Fouz Investment Co.

* Abdulla Subhi Ahmed Atatreh resigned as deputy chairman of Takaful Emarat - Insurance PSC's board, effective March 14.

* Shareholders of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC approved the appointment of the company's new board and the distribution of cash dividends of 39.76% of the bank's net profit for full year 2018.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Bank Leumi le-Israel BM raised nearly 800 million shekels in an offering of subordinated bonds, Reuters reported.

* Tunisia suspended the listing of Banque Attijari de Tunisie SA from the Tunis stock exchange after the bank lost 14% of its value since February, Jeune Afrique said. The bank has been under investigation since the beginning of 2019 for alleged misappropriation of 200 million dinars.

* Morocco's central bank and the Dubai Financial Services Authority signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in licensing and supervision of banks based in the two jurisdictions, Financial Afrik said.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* A Kenyan court has ruled as unconstitutional the cap on commercial bank interest rates that has been in place since 2016, although the ruling was suspended for a year to allow Kenya's parliament to reexamine the law, Reuters reported.

* Access Bank PLC reported full-year 2018 profit attributable to owners of the bank of 94.02 billion Nigerian naira, up from a restated 60.09 billion naira a year ago. The bank's board recommended a final dividend of 25 kobo per ordinary share, bringing the total dividend for 2018 to 50 kobo per share.

* The Ghanaian government's proposal to take out a $750 million bridge loan from Standard Chartered PLC and South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. has been approved by Ghanaian lawmakers, Bloomberg News reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. said it will cut roughly 1,200 jobs and close 91 branches as part of the group's implementation of a new retail and business banking delivery model. Most of the branches will be closed by June.

* Angola's central bank will evaluate in April the quality of assets of 12 major commercial banks as part of a framework aimed at stabilizing the country's financial system, Angola Press reported. The banks include Banco Angolano de Investimentos SA, Banco de Fomento Angola SA and Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA.

* South Africa-based investment holding company RMB Holdings Ltd. declared a dividend of 178 cents per share for 2018, up from 168 cents a year ago, as the group's profit attributable to equity holders of the company rose year over year to 5.36 billion rand from 4.10 billion rand.

* The Republic of the Congo has asked former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn to assist in the country's bid to secure a bailout, Bloomberg News reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Hong Kong fines 4 global banks; UBS Australia faces probe over A$1.2B loan

Europe: 'Brextension' option; RBI shakes off Russia fears; profits rise at Pru, Generali

Latin America: Davivienda Q4'18 profit up 4%; BCRA rate hike to hurt banks, Moody's says

North America: Wells Fargo CEO gets 5% pay raise; Dems drop CRA mandate for CUs in housing bill

Global Insurance: Liberty Mutual sale; short-term health plans probed; US grounds 737 MAX

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies, Pádraig Belton, Helen Popper, 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

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.