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Zenith Bank results out; Bank Audi charged; Lebanese banks remain shuttered


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Zenith Bank results out; Bank Audi charged; Lebanese banks remain shuttered

* Qatar's Commercial Bank PSQC still plans to sell its 40% stake in United Arab Bank PJSC, according to Commercial Bank Group CEO Joseph Abraham. Commercial Bank has been looking to sell the stake since Qatar's dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain began in mid-2017, but ended sale talks with UAE-based private equity firm Tabarak Investment last year after failing to reach a deal, Reuters noted.

* PAO Sberbank of Russia, Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, Russian Export Center JSC and U.K. investment firm Gemcorp Capital LLP signed a $5 billion agreement to create a framework to finance between Russia and African countries.

* The Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets the body in charge of insurance regulation in 14 French-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa, has amended its insurance market rules, which now take into account the exercise of Takaful, according to Agence Ecofin. To start an insurance company that carries out Takaful activity specifically, it will be necessary to have a minimum capital of 3 billion CFA francs.


* Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank BSC reported third-quarter net profit attributable to owners of the bank of $180.9 million, up from $170.8 million in the same period in 2018. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the lender's attributable net profit rose on a yearly basis to $558.4 million from $528.3 million.

* Doha Bank QPSC reported third-quarter net profit of 818.5 million Qatari riyals, up from 737.5 million riyals a year ago.

* Saudi Investment Bank reported third-quarter net profit of 311.9 million Saudi Arabian riyals, down from 345.7 million riyals a year ago. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the bank's net profit dropped year over year to 308.6 million riyals from 1.03 billion riyals.

* Kuwait's central bank launched a comprehensive action plan for the national payable system in collaboration with local banks, which is set to start operation in 2020-2021, Al-Qabas reported. The system aims to offer technical solutions to settle payments between participating parties.

* National Investments Co. KSCP has acquired an additional stake in an unlisted closed joint-stock company for 2.18 million Kuwaiti dinars, increasing its ownership to 63.47% from 41.99%. As a result, the company will be considered a subsidiary and not a sister company.

* A.M. Best affirmed the B++ (Good) financial strength rating and "bbb+" long-term issuer credit rating of Dubai National Insurance & Reinsurance PSC, with a positive outlook.


* Lebanon's state prosecutor accused former Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Bank Audi SAL of making illicit profits through housing loans subsidized by the central bank, Reuters reported, citing state-run National News Agency and a judicial source. Bank Audi denied that it was involved in any "illicit enrichment," while a communications adviser to Mikati said the loans met central bank regulations, adding that the charges were likely politically motivated. Bloomberg News also covered.

* Lebanon's banks will remain closed for the seventh day in a row today due to mass protests across the country, The Daily Star wrote, citing the Association of Banks in Lebanon.

* Moody's warned that the Lebanese government's plan to force banks to accept a lower interest rate on its debt could weaken confidence in the state's ability to service its debt, Reuters wrote. The rating agency also said further taxes on the financial sector will be credit negative for banks.

* Trust Bank Algeria will increase its capital in two stages to comply with the central bank's minimum capital requirement, according to Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Co. QPSC, which owns a 20% stake in the lender.

* Israel-based fund manager Meitav DASH Investments Ltd. has acquired a controlling stake in Irish nonbank property lender Lotus Investment Group, The Irish Times wrote.

* Senior Iranian government officials urged top legislative authorities to ratify remaining anti-money laundering bills demanded by the Financial Action Task Force to comply with the global regulator's deadline of February 2020, Financial Tribune wrote, citing Islamic Republic News Agency.

* State-owned Bimeh Iran (Iran Insurance Co.) is struggling to increase its market share to 50% from 30% due to restrictions on its operations in the market, Financial Tribune reported, citing Mohammad Rezaei, a board member and acting director of the company.

* Moroccan Finance Minister Mohamed Benchaâboun said the government plans to issue an international bond of roughly $1 billion in November, its first in four years, to take advantage of low interest rates, Reuters reported. Benchaâboun noted that the exact amount, currency and date of issue have yet to be decided, but said the debt will not exceed $1.5 billion.


* Nigeria-based Zenith Bank PLC reported group after-tax profit of 150.72 billion naira for the nine months ended Sept. 30, up from 144.18 billion naira in the same period a year ago.

* Shareholders of Nigeria-based Guinea Insurance PLC will meet Nov. 20 to consider a proposal to increase the company's share capital to 12 billion naira from 4 billion naira.

* Djibouti's financial sector remains fragile despite progress in cleaning up banks' balance sheets, the IMF warned. The fund also called on the country's government to upgrade banks' regulatory environment and boost supervision, as well as increase the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing framework to curb corruption and preserve correspondent banking relationships.

* Separately, the IMF urged Guinea to maintain a prudent monetary policy and continue to limit the central bank's lending to the government, saying the moves will be key to containing inflation.


* South Africa-based Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd. said units of U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. have acquired a stake of 5.03% in the company.

* South African financial services firm Efficient Group Ltd. and Mauritius-based Apis Growth 12 Ltd. agreed to extend the implementation date of the specific issue of new Efficient shares to Apis to no later than Oct. 31.

* Fidelity Life Assurance of Zimbabwe Ltd. named Group Technical Manager Evelyn Namusi acting finance director, effective Nov. 1. Namusi takes over from the company's CFO, who has resigned.

* VTB Bank PJSC CEO Andrey Kostin said the Russian state-controlled lender is looking to sell a 10% stake in Angola-based Banco VTB Africa SA to the unit's management, Reuters reported. Kostin said a sale will reduce VTB's stake in the unit to 40%.

* Meanwhile, Kostin and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi discussed plans to restructure a $535 million state-backed loan to Mozambique Asset Management arranged by VTB Bank, a spokeswoman for the Russian lender told Reuters. The two sides are looking to close a deal by the end of the year.


Asia-Pacific: China to expand financing regulation; S&P: contagion risk in Indian finance up

Europe: Fast-track Brexit rejected; Swedbank Q3 profit down; Handelsbanken to exit Asia

Latin America: Brazil pension reform passes Senate; Panama set to finance entrepreneurs

North America: Tennessee banks in deal; Malaysia, Goldman privately discuss lower 1MDB penalty

Global Insurance: Execs bemoan litigious environment; tornado damage estimate; USAA cat bond

Deza Mones, 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.