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MSCI Kuwait status upgrade; PrivatBank sues Israeli bank; Nigeria outlook change


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MSCI Kuwait status upgrade; PrivatBank sues Israeli bank; Nigeria outlook change

* Global securitization issuance is projected to exceed $1 trillion for the third consecutive year in 2020, according to S&P Global Ratings.

* LOLC Holdings PLC Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said the Sri Lankan conglomerate and nonbanking financial firm plans to sell its stake in one of its Cambodian units and use the funds to acquire several unnamed microfinance companies in Kenya, Business Daily Africa reported, citing Bloomberg News. Nanayakkara added that LOLC is looking to expand into Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


* U.S. index compiler MSCI Inc. said it will upgrade the MSCI Kuwait indexes to emerging markets status as part of its May 2020 semiannual index review after the Kuwaiti equity market succeeded in meeting necessary requirements. Kuwaiti Trade and Industry Minister Khaled al-Roudhan said the move could generate inflows of 1 billion dinars, Reuters wrote.

* Sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia launched a new 4 billion riyal fund of funds company called Jada, which will support small businesses, Mubasher reported.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Oman-based Ahli Bank SAOG's long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings at BBB-/A3.

* CI Ratings also affirmed Ahli United Bank KSCP's long-term foreign-currency rating at A+ and adjusted the Kuwait-based lender's short-term foreign-currency rating to A1 from A2, in line with the mapping between long-term and short-term foreign-currency ratings under the agency's revised methodology.

* Dubai's Financial Market Tribunal upheld the Dubai Financial Services Authority's decision to fine Anna Waterhouse, the former head of compliance for the Dubai International Financial Centre branch of Germany's Deutsche Bank AG, and block her from providing financial services in the DIFC, Gulf News reported.

* Gulf Insurance Group received regulatory nod to buy and sell no more than 10% of its treasury shares for a period of six months.

* Kuwait's Capital Market Authority issued disciplinary actions against Alsafat Investment Co. for appointing Hussain Mahmoud Gaguish as internal auditing manager without obtaining the recommendation of the company's internal audit committee. The regulator also issued disciplinary actions against Aayan Kuwait Auto Co. as fund manager of a real estate fund and Gulf Custody Company as a controller of the same fund for not renewing the license of the fund that expired in August.


* Ukraine-based JSC CB PrivatBank has filed a 2.1 billion shekel lawsuit against Israel Discount Bank Ltd., accusing the lender of helping former PrivatBank controlling shareholders Igor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov commit fraud and embezzlement, Globes wrote. PrivatBank is reportedly claiming that Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov transferred proceeds from embezzlement to an account at the Israeli bank.

* Moody's affirmed Israel Discount Bank's A3/Prime-2 long- and short-term deposit ratings and changed the outlook on the long-term rating to positive from stable, citing the lender's recent financial performance.

* Moody's upgraded First International Bank of Israel Ltd.'s long- and short-term deposit ratings to A2/Prime-1 from A3/Prime-2 and changed the outlook on the long-term rating to stable from positive, among other ratings actions.

* Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for a transport insurance mechanism exclusively for Muslim countries, saying the move will reduce dependence on foreign insurance, Reuters reported.

* Association of Banks in Lebanon Chairman Salim Sfeir dismissed rumors circulating in social media that local lenders will close after the Christmas holiday and that they have run out of foreign currency, saying the rumors are "completely false," The Daily Star wrote.

* Former Lebanese Education Minister Hassan Diab has been selected by President Michel Aoun to serve as the country's next prime minister, Reuters wrote. Diab pledged to quickly establish a government to pull Lebanon from its ongoing economic crisis, the news agency reported.

* Sonarwa SA's major shareholder, the Rwanda Social Security Board, has backed out of a planned deal to sell a stake in the Rwandan insurer to BK Insurance and decided instead to boost the company's local insurance penetration, The New Times reported.

* Egyptian lender EFG-Hermes Holding SAE's investment banking arm issued 400 million pounds of short-term bonds, marking the debut flotation of such bonds on the Egyptian market. The debt represents the first tranche of a 2 billion pound bond originated by unit EFG Hermes Securities Brokerage.


* A Kenyan judge ordered National Bank of Kenya Ltd. to pay its former director for institutional banking, Emma Mwongeli Mwema, 7.1 million shillings in exit dues after ruling that the lender violated labor laws when it terminated Mwema, Business Daily Africa wrote.

* A.M. Best affirmed Kenya Reinsurance Corp. Ltd.'s B financial strength rating and "bb+" long-term issuer credit rating, with a stable outlook.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Nigeria's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at B+/B and revised the outlook on the long-term ratings to negative from stable.

* Nigerian bank Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange an additional 31,515,400 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each resulting from the scrip dividend offered to shareholders who opted to receive shares in lieu of the 1.00 naira cash dividend for the half year ended June 30, increasing its total issued and fully paid up shares to 10,504,967,358 shares from 10,473,451,958 shares.

* Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission plans to allow trading activities such as short selling, hedging and arbitrage in a bid to help local capital markets attract inflows and boost liquidity, Bloomberg News reported, citing Mary Uduk, the regulator's acting director-general.

* Nigerian central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said the regulator has licensed 15 mobile money operators and released guidelines for the provision of mobile money services in the country, The Punch wrote.

* Nigeria-based Universal Insurance PLC's shareholders approved a proposal to increase the company's capital to comply with the National Insurance Commission's recapitalization requirements, The Punch reported. Acting Chairman Anthony Okocha said Universal Insurance needs 3.5 billion naira of additional capital to comply with the requirement for general business insurers.

* Ecobank Nigeria Ltd. Managing Director Patrick Akinwuntan is moving to safeguard his position and the lender's image following allegations that the bank defrauded the Nasarawa state government of more than 800 million naira in unremitted tax and withholding tax on credit interest funds, Business Post wrote. Nigeria's central bank and Financial Crimes Commission are reportedly looking into the matter and could ask Akinwuntan and other officials to explain the issue.

* Nigeria's National Insurance Commission granted approval-in-principle for Consolidated Hallmark Insurance PLC to operate a new micro life assurance unit, Micro Insurance Ltd., The Punch reported. Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Chairman Obinna Ekezie said the unit is due to begin full operations in the first quarter of 2020.

* FBNBank Ghana Ltd. named Semiu Lamidi and Mohammed Ozamah CFO and chief risk officer, respectively, Joy Online wrote.

* The The Ghana Stock Exchange named Ekow Afedzie as its new managing director, effective Jan. 1, 2020, Joy Online reported. Afedzie has been acting managing director of the bourse since August.

* Ghana-based Nsoatreman Rural Bank has exceeded the Bank of Ghana's 1 million cedi minimum capital requirement for rural community banks, Ghana News Agency wrote, citing the lender's chairman, Kofi Agyemang.

* A.M. Best affirmed Ghana Reinsurance Co. Ltd.'s B financial strength rating and "bb" long-term issuer credit rating, with a stable outlook.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Benin's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at B/B, with positive outlooks on the long-term ratings.


* National Bank of Malawi said it plans to acquire stakes in several business entities within the Southern African Development Community and that it is currently acquiring a controlling stake in a financial firm outside Malawi, Nyasa Times wrote.


Asia-Pacific: Bank Indonesia keeps rates unchanged; Indian asset manager files for IPO

Europe: UK to test banks for climate risks; potential Co-op sale; Nordea in €575M deal

Latin America: Stake recovery for BTG founder; new chairman at Argentina's Banco Nacion

North America: Bank deals in Pennsylvania, NJ; Crapo opposes House cannabis banking bill

Global Insurance: ACA mandate unconstitutional; PG&E deal approved; BoE to test on climate change

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies 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.