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Boubyan Bank to acquire BLME; S&P acts on Senegal; GCB Bank's digital drive


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Boubyan Bank to acquire BLME; S&P acts on Senegal; GCB Bank's digital drive

* The board of BLME Holdings Plc agreed to an all-cash offer from Boubyan Bank KSCP to take over the shares that the Kuwaiti bank does not currently own, The National reported. Boubyan Bank offered to buy the remaining shares in BLME for $1.05 apiece. It already holds a roughly 27% stake in the London-based lender.

* Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's finance minister, said the launch of a single currency regime in West Africa in 2020 will unlikely happen since many countries in the region still fail to meet the criteria for a monetary union, The Punch reported. The 15 countries making up the Economic Community of West African States had previously agreed to call the common currency "eco."

* Banks' growing reliance on cloud infrastructure provided by third parties could create new financial stability risks, the international body Financial Stability Board said in a report. The banks often outsource functions such as relationship management, financial accounting and human resources to third parties who may themselves depend on cloud systems, which makes it more difficult to identify where potential systemic risks could lie, the regulator added.


* S&P Global Ratings said it expects rated Saudi Arabian banks to maintain stable financial risk profiles next year unless any unexpected geopolitical risk or a major fall in oil prices occur, Arabian Business reported. The agency also said the Saudi Arabian economy would likely recover.

* Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank BSC named Sara Abdulhadi group chief investment officer and treasury officer, Saudi Gazette reported. Abdulhadi most recently served as deputy treasurer of Saudi British Bank.

* Qatar's Commercial Bank PSQC expects to issue bonds of $500 million in the first or second quarter of next year amid low interest rates and "good appetite" in the country, CEO Joseph Abraham told Reuters.

* Dubai-based FlexxPay FZ LLC raised some 5.5 million United Arab Emirates dirhams through a pre-series A financing round led by venture capital firm Wamda Capital, The National reported. The company also raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from individual and corporate investors last year.

* Axiory Global Ltd., an international foreign exchange brokerage company, opened a new headquarters in Dubai for its Middle Eastern operations that will employ 10 staff, according to Arabian Business.

* Al Thekair General Trading & Contracting Co. said it received regulatory approval to acquire the remaining shares of Kuwait and Middle East Financial Investment Co. KSCP for 59 fils per share. Al Thekair currently owns a 74.33% stake in the company, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

* First Takaful Insurance Co. KPSC CEO Hussain al-Ataal said Kuwait's insurance sector is currently without any regulatory body as it is yet to be set up, which may result in delays in renewing and issuing licenses for the 39 insurance companies operating in the country by year-end, Al-Qabas wrote.


* Egypt's central bank and Social Housing Fund kicked off an initiative for the electronic collection of mortgage installments, Amwal Al Ghad wrote.

* A.M. Best affirmed the B+ financial strength rating and the "bbb-" long-term issuer credit rating of Lebanon-based Arab Reinsurance Co. SAL. The outlooks of the credit ratings remain negative.


* S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on Senegal's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings to stable from positive after affirming them at B+/B. The agency said it expects a continued rise in government debt to GDP despite robust economic growth and some fiscal consolidation.

* Moody's affirmed the B2 long-term local-currency deposit ratings of Nigerian lenders Access Bank PLC, Zenith Bank PLC, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., United Bank for Africa PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, Union Bank of Nigeria PLC, Fidelity Bank PLC, First City Monument Bank Ltd. and Sterling Bank PLC and revised the outlook on the ratings to negative from stable following a similar action on the sovereign.

* GCB Bank Ltd. plans to kick off its first mobile money service G-Money in January next year, Joy Online wrote. Managing Director Anselm Ray Sowah said the Ghanaian central bank approved the service last month.

* Eric Kutortse, the CEO of First Sky Group, which owns Serene Insurance, said the insurer will meet its 50 million-cedi minimum capital requirement by the end of the second quarter of next year, Citi Business News reported. Serene Insurance clinched a license only in April 2018 and opened in September of the same year.


* Angolan banks and financial institutions have not made adequate use of new technology such as mobile payments applications to boost the use of banking services in the country, according to Finance Minister Vera Daves, state news agency Angop reported. She said bank usage rates in Angola were running at about 30% of the adult population, lagging far behind the regional average.

* Many Angolan companies are failing to access bank credit due to accounting weaknesses, failure to comply with compliance regulations and poorly drafted projects, according to an executive director at Banco Angolano de Investimentos SA, Macauhub wrote. José Castilho noted that the bank was evaluating more than 30 loan applications it had received as part of the government's credit support program, which is focused on small and medium-sized companies and on reducing the nation's reliance on imported goods.


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Deza Mones, 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.