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NBK posts FY'18 profit rise; Angola to close more banks; South Africa holds rate

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NBK posts FY'18 profit rise; Angola to close more banks; South Africa holds rate

* Kuwait Investment Authority could bolster its investments in the U.K., Reuters reported, citing newspaper Al-Rai. The sovereign wealth fund is said to have asked the managers of its portfolios to assess the situation on the consensus that a no-deal Brexit would lead to "attractive opportunities."

* U.S.-based Citigroup Inc. appointed David Livingstone as its new operations head for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Financial Times reported, citing a memo. Livingstone will take up the role next month and replace Jim Cowles, who announced his resignation in September 2018, the report added.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Air Arabia PJSC filed a lawsuit against Abraaj Group Ltd. founder Arif Naqvi, Reuters wrote. The airline company said last year that its overall exposure to Abraaj amounted to $336 million.

* Saudi Arabia-based National Commercial Bank is poised to tap JPMorgan to advise it on its merger talks with Riyad Bank, sources told Reuters.

* Saudi Arabia recruited HSBC Holdings PLC banker Rayyan Nagadi to help establish a privatization unit at the country's finance ministry. The country is planning to privatize a range of state-owned institutions and facilities as part of its strategy to expand its non-oil economy.

* National Bank of Kuwait SAKP reported fourth-quarter 2018 net profit attributable to owners of the parent company of 98.3 million Kuwaiti dinars, up 17% from 84.0 million dinars a year before. For the full year 2018, the bank's attributable profit rose year-over-year to 370.7 million dinars from 322.4 million dinars.

* The board of Middle East Financial Brokerage Co., which is 90% owned by Kuwait and Middle East Financial Investment Co. KSCP, decided to terminate a nonbinding memorandum of understanding signed with KFIC Financial Brokerage Co. relating to the potential merger of the two firms.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* S&P Global Ratings said the economic and industry risk trends for Lebanon is stable, with adequate regulation and supervision for lenders. However, banks still bear high exposure to the sovereign and the economy remains highly vulnerable to internal and external political risk, the agency added.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Sanlam Kenya PLC CEO Patrick Tumbo said the company would not cut jobs as it merges with Morocco's Saham Finances SA and trade under one name, Business Daily Africa wrote. Separately, Tumbo said Sanlam Kenya will take legal action against the directors of companies that defaulted on 1.15 billion shillings worth of corporate bonds it issued, Daily Nation wrote. He added that the company will avoid "high toxic" investments and focus on areas such as government infrastructure bonds until the law regulating the corporate bond market is amended.

* Commercial Bank of Ethiopia signed an agreement with WorldRemit to launch the country's first mobile money payment service, Financial Afrik wrote. The two firms expect the service to connect 20 million CBE bank accounts and 1,300 withdrawal points and reach Ethiopia's unbanked population.

* Former Bank of Ghana Deputy Governor Johnson Asiama told Bloomberg News that he resigned a year ago after he was asked to do so by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta. His disclosure was triggered by allegations from senior members of the country's ruling New Patriotic Party that his departure was due to his involvement in a pyramid selling plan, Asiama added.

* Access Bank PLC is looking to issue approximately 15 billion Nigerian naira in green bonds in the first quarter, insiders told Bloomberg. The potential issuance will be Nigeria's first corporate green bond to fund environmental and climate-related projects.

* Nigeria's Heritage Bank Ltd. expects to receive fresh capital from unnamed investors, ThisDay reported, citing CEO Ifie Sekibo, who also said the bank would float its shares in the near future but not this year.

* Senegal-based Advanced Finance & Investment Group LLC acquired a 29.9% stake in NEM Insurance Plc, making it largest shareholder in the Nigerian insurer.

* A civil law court dismissed Guaranty Trust Bank (Liberia) Ltd.'s bid to drop a $1 million damage lawsuit against it brought by a former employee who was allegedly assaulted by his bank manager, The NEWS reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The South African Reserve Bank kept its benchmark repurchase rate unchanged at 6.75%. Meanwhile, SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago stressed that the central's mandate was to protect the value of the rand "in the interest of balance and sustainable growth," and that changing it would mean amending the constitution, Reuters reported. Kganyago's comment comes after the ruling political party African National Congress said the regulator's monetary policy decisions should also take into account job creation and economic growth.

* Angolan central bank Governor José de Lima Massano told Bloomberg that the regulator could shutter more banks if they fail to meet new minimum capital requirements amid an asset quality review. Earlier this month, the central bank revoked the licenses of Banco Mais and Banco Postal after they missed a 2018-end deadline to comply with new capital requirements.

* The 55-member African Union flagged "serious doubts" about the accuracy of the results of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's recent presidential election, and has called for the suspension of the vote's proclamation, Bloomberg wrote. Opposition leader Martin Fayulu has claimed that the results were rigged in favor of opponent Felix Tshisekedi.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: SWIFT to set up Beijing unit; Indonesia keeps key rate

Europe: SocGen to take €240M hit; German tie-up seen as unwise; Brexit delay in sight

Latin America: Chile sets date for merger of regulators; XP Investimentos partner leaving

North America: Morgan Stanley Q4'18 net revenues down; BB&T profit up in Q4'18

Global Insurance: US P&C insurers log $4.7B underwriting gain; MGIC earnings; Mercer gets new CEO

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and 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.