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Saudi group, banks ink key debt restructuring deal; Fitch acts on EMEA sovereigns

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Saudi group, banks ink key debt restructuring deal; Fitch acts on EMEA sovereigns

Fitch takes actions on EMEA sovereigns: Fitch Ratings various ratings of severalsovereigns in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to reflect its new sovereigncriteria. Among other actions, the agency lowered Nigeria's long-termlocal-currency issuer default rating to B+ from BB-, with a stable outlook, andassigned the country a new short-term local-currency issuer default rating ofB. South Africa's long-term local-currency issuer default rating was downgradedto BBB- from BBB, with a stable outlook. Fitch assigned Kuwait, Qatar and SaudiArabia short-term local-currency issuer default ratings of F1+.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTHAFRICA

Saudi group, banks ink debt restructuring deal: Ahmad HamadAlgosaibi & Brothers Co. said it signeda settlement agreement with a steering committee representing all financialinstitutions that have claims against the company, taking the group one stepcloser to resolving what it called was "the largest and most complexfinancial dispute in the history of the Middle East." The group hasalready agreed with 89.9% of its claimants, representing 56.3% of the value ofthe claims, and all claimants will be asked to sign the settlement agreement assoon as possible over the coming weeks. Bloomberg News covers.

* Sukuk issuance in the Arabian region improved in thesecond quarter, increasing to $4.3 billion from $767 million in the first quarter,Al-Ghad reports.Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings saidtotal new issuance of sukuk with maturity of more than 18 months in key marketsamounted to $21.74 billion in the first half, up from $19.54 billion in thesame period a year ago.

* The Islamic Financial Services Board and the Arab MonetaryFund signeda memorandum of understanding to establish and implement a nonexclusiveframework to promote programs and initiatives that foster the development ofthe Islamic finance sector in the Arab region. The MOU will last for an initialthree-year period.

* yesterday reportedsecond-quarter profit attributable to the shareholders of the parent of $60million, up from $44 million in the same period a year ago. First-half profitamounted to $101 million, compared to $96 million in the first half of 2015.

* AlinmaBank CEO Abdulmuhsin Al-Faris told Al Arabiya TV Channel that thebank received more than 1 billion Saudi Arabian riyals of deposits during thesecond quarter from Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Argaam reports.Meanwhile, Saudi InvestmentBank CEO Musaid Al-Munifi said thebank did not receive any deposits in the quarter from the agency.

* The Dubai Department of EconomicDevelopment closed Exential Group's offices last week and ordered the foreignexchange trading firm to stop trading following customer complaints of unpaidreturns, Arabian Business reports.Exential said it was working to resolve the situation and "will be back tonormal operations as soon as possible."

* WethaqTakaful Insurance Co. said full motor insurance declined in 2015due to the lack of awareness campaigns and illegal competition among insurancefirms, as well as the increased commission of insurance brokers, Al-Anbaa reports.

* Central Bank of Iran GovernorValiollah Seif said two draft laws on banking, namely the central bank reformbill and the usury-free banking bill, are now being finalized and will be sentto parliament by late August, the FinancialTribune writes,citing ICANA.

* The Iranian banking sector'stotal debt to the country's central bank amounted to 893 trillion rials as ofMay 20, up 6.6% on a yearly basis, the FinancialTribune reports.

* The Bank of Israel's monetarycommittee kept the interest rate for August unchangedat 0.1%, consistent with the central bank's policy intended to return theinflation rate to a target range of 1% to 3%.

* Data from Jordan's central bank showed that the capitalsolvency of operating banks in the country increased to 19.06% in 2015 from18.4% in 2014, Addustour reports.

* Jordan's foreign-currency reserves fell by 10% during thefirst quarter to $12.75 billion from $14.07 billion at 2015-end, Al-Ghad says.

* Amid a U.S. dollar shortage, Egypt's central bankprovided banks $26.8 billion to finance the import of basic commodities fromDec. 30, 2012, to July 19, 2016, DailyNews Egypt reports.

* Egypt-based investment houseNaeem Holding denied reports that it signed an MOU to acquire Al TawfeekBrokerage and Al Tawfeek Financial Investments, saying it was still in duediligence, Amwal Al Ghad reports.

* Trust Bank Algeria CEO Senouci Ould-Kablia said the bankplans to open seven more branches next year after it recently opened a newheadquarters in the city of Skikda, ElWatan reports.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

Standard Banksecures Ivory Coast license: Standard Bank Group Ltd. formally received a bankinglicense in Ivory Coast, accordingto Reuters. The license expands the group's footprint across Africa to 20countries. It remains unclear whether Standard Bank will onlyoffer commercial and retail banking in Ivory Coast, as it does in Botswana, orif it will also offer investment banking and wealth management as it does inNigeria, Jeune Afrique notes.

*Ecobank TransnationalInc. has lost 53.6% of its market capitalization since the start ofthe year, Agence Ecofin reports. Many institutional investors are paring backtheir shares in the group. BlackRock, for instance, now holds only 2.7 millionshares in the company, compared to 40 million in the third quarter of 2015.

* The South African Reserve Bank acknowledgedan announcement by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange of a programming error thatresulted in incorrect data being reported for the trading of equities by nonresidentsfrom May 31 to July 20. The incorrect data was quoted in the July 21 statementof the SARB's monetary policy committee, but the central bank said it did nothave any bearing on the MPC's decision to keep the repurchase rate unchanged.

* said yesterday thatempowerment shareholders Eyomhlaba Investment Holdings (RF) Ltd. and HlumisaInvestment Holdings (RF) Ltd. returned to ABIL ordinary shares representing acombined 4.94% stake in the lender's ordinary share capital. The agreementsconstitute a full and final settlement of all disputes and claims between thebank and the empowerment shareholders.

* The Central Bank of Kenya'smonetary policy committee retainedthe central bank rate at 10.5% to anchor inflation expectations and maintainmarket stability. The MPC revised the Kenya banks' reference rate to 8.90% from9.87%, effective from July 25.

* American International Group Inc. unit namedCatherine Igathe its new managing director, BusinessDaily Africa reports.Igathe succeeds Japh Olende, who left the firm in December 2015 after 19 yearsin the role.

* Ghanaian Finance Minister SethTerkper said the government will not seek funding from the country's centralbank to help finance the national deficit, Citi Business News reports.Terkper's statement comes amid concerns that Ghana may have a harder timereceiving the third tranche of aid from the IMF if parliament passes a billthat would allow the Bank of Ghana to finance up to 5% of the country's budgetdeficit. Terkper expressed confidence that the IMF will approve the tranche bythe end of August.

* Uganda's state-run MicrofinanceSupport Centre said the country could start offering Islamic microfinance loansby mid-2017, Bloomberg News reports.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERNAFRICA

Angola set toissue debt to guarantee Banco Espírito Santo sale: Angola will issue Treasury bondsworth more than 47 billion kwanzas to guarantee the purchase of assets offailed lender Banco Espírito Santo Angola by state-run insurer ENSA, O País reports.The operation was first approved by apresidential decree signed in 2015 but the debt issue did not take place.The new transaction, detailed in a financeministry order, involves a larger amount due to the depreciation of thekwanza.

* Angola's foreign-currency reserves fell by $370 million in June to$23.97 billion from $24.34 billion a month earlier, Reuters and NovoJornal report. So far this month, the central bank has sold $716million in foreign currency to commercial banks to meet import requirements, Novo Jornal adds.The central bank is also working with commercial banks to improve theschedule of foreign currency sales, Macauhub notes.

* Mozambique's deputy economy and finance minister, Isaltina Lucas, tolda meeting of insurance industry executives that the country is committed toboosting the market for financial products, Jornalde Notícias reports.Lucas said the government wanted to create "a conducive atmosphere"for financial services and insurance products.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THEWORLD

Asia-Pacific: Julius Bär hires 200 managers in Asia; Dai-ichi Life to openCambodian office

Europe: HSBC acts on RWAs; BBVA plans layoffs; Bank Asya loseslicense

Latin America: Bradesco plans to create corporate debt restructuringdivision

North America:

North America Insurance:

SherylGesto-Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed tothis report.

TheDaily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. Londontime. Some external links may require a subscription.