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FirstRand tables £1.08B offer for Aldermore; foreign banks eye Saudi expansion

* South Africa-based FirstRand Ltd. has made an indicative proposal to acquire U.K.-based Aldermore Group Plc's entire issued and to-be-issued ordinary share capital for 313 pence per share in cash. Based on the British lender's 344,921,017 shares in issue as of Oct. 13, the offer values the company's share capital at roughly £1.08 billion.

* Anglo-South African financial group Old Mutual Plc completed the sale of its 26% stake in India-based Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Ltd. to joint venture partner Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. Consideration for the deal, net of hedging and tax, was £138 million.


* Executives from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. said the banks plan to hire more people and expand their businesses in Saudi Arabia, seeking to take advantage of the country's privatization drive as part of its Vision 2030 economic reform program, the Financial Times reported.

* Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Governor Ahmed Al-Kholifey said the central bank may raise the maximum loan-to-deposit ratio for commercial lenders should the need arise to help the local economy, Argaam and Reuters reported, citing Al Arabiya television. Al-Kholifey added that two regional banks and one Asian bank were in advanced stages of procedures to secure banking licenses in Saudi Arabia.

* The Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, may shelve its planned international public offering and instead pursue a private share sale to major sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors, insiders told the Financial Times.

* Qatar National Bank (QPSC) is reportedly seeking to refinance a $3 billion loan due March 2018 and complete the deal by the end of this year amid Qatar's ongoing diplomatic spat with some neighboring Arab states, insiders told Reuters.

* Oman Qatar Insurance Co. SAOC successfully closed its IPO, in which the Qatar Insurance Co. SAQ unit offered 25 million shares at 160 Omani baisa apiece. The company, which expects its shares to begin trading Oct. 19 on the Muscat Securities Market, noted that the offering was 1.4x oversubscribed.

* National Life and General Insurance Co.'s IPO will open for subscription Oct. 22 and close Nov. 20, an official at Oman's Capital Market Authority told the Times of Oman. The insurer is offering 66.25 million shares, or 25% of its paid-up capital, at a price of 320 baisa apiece, with the total size of the offer estimated at around 21.2 million Omani rials.

* Iran-based banking and payment solutions provider Informatics Services Corp. signed a deal with Russia's BPC to develop a national platform to help Iran connect with international card payment systems, according to the Financial Tribune.

* Egyptian Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said his country plans to renew a $2 billion financing deal with international lenders, adding that it will "most probably" issue $4 billion of U.S. dollar-denominated and €1.5 billion of euro-denominated bonds in the 2018 first quarter, Bloomberg News wrote.


* The Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corp. said they have selected three potential buyers from a shortlist of undisclosed qualifying investors that presented an interest in acquiring a stake in the collapsed Imperial Bank Ltd. The shortlisted investors have until Jan. 15, 2018, to submit their formal proposals, and a transaction is expected to be finalized in June 2018. Business Daily Africa covered.

* French private equity group Investisseurs & Partenaires is launching an investment fund called Conomé Capital, which is focused on Ivory Coast, Financial Afrik said.

* Former soccer player George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai are expected to face each other in the second-round of voting in Liberia's presidential election set for next month, Reuters reported. The country's electoral commission yesterday said Weah was leading with 39% of votes, followed by Boakai with 29.1%, with less than 5% of precincts still to be counted. The final certified results from the Oct. 10 poll must be announced by Oct. 25.


* Fitch Ratings lowered Gabon's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to B from B+, with a negative outlook, citing the deteriorating fiscal position and external vulnerabilities of the oil-producing country.

* Busisiwe Mkhwebane, the public protector of South Africa, has reportedly asked the deputy judge president of the High Court in Pretoria to postpone until next year the review of the findings of her investigation into the South African Reserve Bank's historical assistance to Bankorp Ltd., which was acquired by Barclays Africa Group Ltd. unit Absa Bank Ltd. in 1992, Eyewitness News wrote. It followed reports that Mkhwebane's legal team had abandoned her.

* Leonard Kalinde, the Zambian central bank's director of legal services, said Intermarket Banking Corp. is set to reopen as Zambia Industrial and Commercial Bank Ltd. after being injected with 228 million Zambian kwacha worth of capital, ZNBC reported.

* Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Deputy Governor Jesimen Chipika said the central bank has decided to delay the settlement of its debts to the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank as some components of the country's debt engagement obligations are still needed to be fulfilled, Zimbabwe Independent reported.

* The lawyer representing Mozambican state-owned companies accused of hiding $1.4 billion in loans said the IMF and the World Bank were well aware of the credit taken by Proindicus and MAM, Lusa reported. For 2018, the IMF has ruled out the possibility of providing any aid to Mozambique until the gaps identified in Kroll's auditing report are fully explained, O País wrote.


Asia-Pacific: HK drops suit against UBS, StanChart; Australia to conduct banking stress test

Sheryl Obejera, Sarah Raslan, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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