* Saudi Arabian Oil Co. priced its IPO at 32 Saudi riyals per share, the top of its expected range, making it the world's largest IPO that could have a profound impact on policy decisions from the world's biggest crude exporter. The listing will raise $25.6 billion, while a further 15% overallotment option could bring the final IPO value to $29.4 billion, according to the oil giant.
* Moody's changed the outlook for global banks to negative from stable, citing slower economic growth, low interest rates and volatile operating conditions. Meanwhile, the rating agency said the outlooks for the global asset management and property and casualty insurance sector remains stable.
* Leaked documents showed that U.K.-based business support services provider Formations House Ltd. conspired with former Gambia President Yahya Jammeh to set up banks that were purchased by fraudsters, according to The Times.
* HSBC Holdings PLC is set to replace fellow British banking group Barclays PLC as one of the top 10 equity arrangers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, mainly due to its role in the IPO of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., according to a Bloomberg News analysis.
* French telecommunications firm Orange SA said it will launch banking services such as micro-credit in the Middle East and Africa from 2020, adding that its African banking unit, Orange Bank Africa, is projected to reach nearly 10 million customers by 2023 with net banking income of roughly €100 million.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Bashar al-Natoor, global head of Islamic finance at Fitch Ratings, said the agency expects consolidation among Islamic banks in the GCC to continue in 2020 as lenders seek to boost market share in an increasingly competitive environment, The National reported.
* Moody's said National Bank of Bahrain BSC 's planned acquisition of Bahrain Islamic Bank BSC is credit positive for the latter, Gulf Digital News reported.
* Bahrain's life insurance segment will likely grow faster than the nonlife segment in the next five years, mainly due to population expansion, Middle East Insurance Review wrote, citing a report by Dubai-based investment banking advisory firm Alpen Capital.
* S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on sovereign wealth fund Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. to positive from stable, following a similar action on Bahrain.
* A.M. Best affirmed the B++ financial strength rating and the "bbb+" long-term issuer credit rating of Bahrain National Insurance Co. BSC(c), with a stable outlook.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Kuwait-based financing firm Al Manar Financing & Leasing KSCP's long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings at BB/B, with a stable outlook.
* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority said it issued disciplinary actions against Al Madina for Finance and Investment Co. KSCP due to accounting irregularities.
* The United Arab Emirates' central bank denied a report claiming that its governor supported a private cryptocurrency trading platform, saying the article contained false information and that it has not issued any licenses for such activitties in the country as it believes cryptocurrencies pose potential risks related to price volatility, money laundering and terrorist financing, WAM reported.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* The Bank of Israel set out guidelines for banks and credit card firms for the implementation of the open banking standard in the country, under which they will be required to open customer accounts to third-party access.
* The Bank of Israel boosted its purchases of foreign currency in November by a significant amount as part of efforts to curb the shekel's appreciation, which has kept inflation well below the central bank's target range of 1% to 3%, Bloomberg wrote.
* Spanish banking group Bankia SA has opened a representative office in Morocco to support Spanish companies operating in the country, following Shanghai as its second overseas office, according to Financial Afrik.
* Lebanese banks cannot apply precautionary measures such as capping the weekly amount of withdrawals without clear regulations, legal sources told Gulf News, adding that account holders have the right to pursue claims against lenders who do so.
* Orient Takaful Insurance Co. SAE CEO Abdel Rasool said the Egyptian insurer is looking to increase its investments to 1.2 billion Egyptian pounds at the end of the 2019-2020 financial year from 1 billion pounds in the year-ago period, adding that the funds will be invested in public debt instruments, Amwal Al Ghad wrote.
* Egypt-based Beltone Financial Holding SAE said corporate finance advisory frim FACT set the fair value of its shares at 2.52 pounds per share, Arab Finance wrote.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenyan telecommunications firm Safaricom PLC has begun testing a new savings service on its M-Pesa platform called Mali, which will allow users of the mobile phone-based money transfer platform to invest and earn 10% annual interest, Business Daily Africa reported.
* The Ugandan government plans to borrow up to €600 million from Stanbic Bank Holdings Ltd. and Trade Development Bank to fund a shortfall in its budget for the 2019-2020 financial year, according to a statement on the parliament's website.
* The government of Côte d'Ivoire signed an agreement with Visa and Unitek to create a joint credit card product for businesses, according to Le Patriote.
* The Portuguese government has tasked the finance ministry to set the price of Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA's stakes in Cabo Verde's Banco Comercial do Atlântico SA, Macauhub wrote.
* The Ghanaian cedi is set to depreciate for the 25th straight year as investor confidence in the country is eroded by the government's fiscal problems, Bloomberg wrote.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* A representative for fired Old Mutual Ltd. CEO Peter Moyo said the South African insurer failed to convince the appeal court on why the previous ruling ordering the reinstatement of Moyo should be thrown out, Fin24 wrote. The Johannesburg High Court has reportedly reserved judgment on the case for 2020.
* South Africa-based Ukheshe Payment Solutions (Pty) Ltd. has partnered with Mastercard Inc. to allow South Africans to accept digital payments through Masterpass, the U.S. payments giant's digital payment service, in a bid to target more than 11 million unbanked citizens, according to Business Report.
* The IMF approved the disbursement of $247 million in aid to Angola, following the completion of its second review of the country's economic program. Angola needs to make further amendments to its central bank and financial institutions laws to allow authorities to strengthen bank supervision and resolution, the fund noted.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: SMFG to expand Indonesia biz; RHB Bank to exit Hong Kong; Yes Bank downgraded
Europe: Staff cuts at UK fund managers; M&G suspends property fund; Metro Bank loses CEO
Latin America: Argentine central bank chief stepping down; Chile holds key rate at 1.75%
North America: Mass. banks in deal; regional banks worried about transition to SOFR; BofA sued
Global Insurance: Catalina in Singapore deal; Centene/WellCare progress; next Lancashire CFO
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Padraig Belton 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.