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National Bank of Oman, Bank Dhofar explore merger; Kenya trims rate

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National Bank of Oman, Bank Dhofar explore merger; Kenya trims rate

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* The boards of National Bank of Oman SAOG and Bank Dhofar SAOG have resolved to begin discussions to explore the possibility of a merger between the two lenders, subject to necessary approvals. Such a deal would pave the way for the creation of a new Omani lender with roughly $20 billion in assets, The National noted. The news comes after Oman Arab Bank SAOC and Alizz Islamic Bank SAOG announced their intention to explore a potential tie-up in May.

* Oman has mandated Standard Chartered PLC as global coordinator to help the country raise up to $1.2 billion, potentially through a loan or bond, to finance infrastructure at its Duqm Special Economic Zone, Bloomberg News reported.

* Saudi Arabia's Alawwal Bank reported second-quarter net profit of 253.6 million riyals, down 21.27% from the year-ago 322.1 million riyals. The bank's first-half net profit also declined on a yearly basis, to 539.6 million riyals from 646 million riyals.

* The board of National Commercial Bank recommended the distribution of a 10% cash dividend for the first half at 1 Saudi Arabian riyal per share.

* The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has maintained the ban on Wafa Insurance Inc. from issuing and renewing insurance policies until further notice.

* Kuwait-based Ahli United Bank KSCP appointed Lean Komar senior manager of risk management.

* The Dubai International Financial Centre Courts and Smart Dubai have teamed up to create the world's first Court of the Blockchain to explore how to aid verification of court judgments for cross-border enforcement.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Egypt had secured an extension on the United Arab Emirates' $4 billion worth of deposits at the Central Bank of Egypt, due to mature this year, Reuters reported, citing local newspaper Almal. The North African country also intends to repay $6.3 billion in foreign debt in the second half.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Iraq's long- and short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings at B-/B, with a stable outlook on the long-term rating.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* The Central Bank of Kenya cut its benchmark rate to 9.00% from 9.50%, saying the country's economy was still growing below its potential while inflation expectations were anchored within the target range.

* The Competition Authority of Kenya approved the proposed acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd. by SBM Bank (Kenya) Ltd., a unit of Mauritius-based SBM Holdings Ltd., according to Business Daily Africa.

* Prime Bank Ltd. is currently in talks to sell an undisclosed stake to new investors to help fund the Kenyan lender's plans to expand locally and regionally, insiders told Business Daily Africa.

* FBN Holdings Plc reported second-quarter group profit attributable to owners of the parent of 18.21 billion Nigerian naira, up from 13.04 billion naira a year earlier.

* Traders said the Central Bank of Nigeria auctioned the yuan at a range of 49 naira to 51 naira at its first sale of the Chinese currency, in a bid to promote the use of an alternative trading currency to the U.S. dollar, Reuters wrote. The auction comes after Nigeria and China signed a $2.5 billion currency swap deal in May.

* GCB Bank Ltd. posted first-half group profit attributable to equity holders of the bank of 88.0 million Ghanaian cedis, down from 105.8 million cedis a year ago.

* The Bank of Ghana has issued a draft directive on financial holding companies, which is aimed at facilitating understanding of the requirements for the adoption and operations of a financial holding company in the country.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The hearing on the Competition Commission of South Africa's case against foreign and local banks accused of rigging the rand-U.S. dollar currency trades began yesterday, with banks voicing a number of objections including the clarity of evidence against them and the commission's jurisdiction over foreign entities, Moneyweb reported.

* The IMF's Executive Board completed the second review of under the extended credit facility arrangement for Chad, enabling the disbursement of around $49.1 million. This brings total disbursements under the arrangement to roughly $147.3 million.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: HDFC Bank launches 155B-rupee share offering; 3 Indian lenders post Q1 results

Europe: Deutsche cuts London clearing ops; StanChart extends US sanctions scrutiny

Latin America: BBVA Bancomer Q2 profit up 16.2%; Colombia maintains key rate

North America: 7 Michigan CUs to form bank; Deutsche Bank cutting staff in Chicago

Global Insurance: Hiscox shares leap as profit up; AIG cutting UK jobs; Aflac plans $1B dividends

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 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.