GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Arab Banking Corp. BSC posted second-quarter consolidated profit attributable to shareholders of the parent of $60 million, up from $52 million a year earlier. For the first half, the Bahrain-based lender's attributable profit rose 11% year over year to $113 million from $102 million.
* Gulf International Bank BSC reported second-quarter net loss of $170.0 million, compared to a year-ago profit of $31.7 million. For the first half, the lender reported a loss of $144.2 million, compared to a profit of $53.3 million a year earlier.
* The Capital Market Authority has informed Wafa Insurance Inc. that it will be considered dissolved on Sept. 11 if it fails to hold an extraordinary general assembly meeting within 45 days after its board of directors are informed of losses. Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said the company will not be allowed the capital reduction option as its paid-up capital has reached the minimum limit required to carry out insurance business.
* A standing committee in Saudi Arabia, which includes the Capital Market Authority and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, warned against trading in digital currencies including bitcoin, saying such currencies are illegal in the country and that no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices.
* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank's AAA/A-1+ long- and short-term issuer credit ratings, with a stable outlook.
* Nasdaq Dubai CEO Hamed Ahmed Ali said the stock exchange is considering allowing individuals to invest in the Islamic bond market by next year, Reuters reported.
* Switzerland-based Reyl & Cie Holding SA named Nicolas Farah CEO of Reyl Finance (MEA) Ltd., its affiliate in the United Arab Emirates.
* Kuwait and Middle East Financial Investment Co. KSCP said treasury director general Mohammed al-Saleh has resigned.
* National Securities Co. SAOG said Jala Saleh al-Hadhrami was elected chairman of its board, while Abdulaziz Ahmed Sultan al-Hosni was elected vice chairman.
* Iran Foreign Investment Co. has appointed Nafiseh Sadat Safavi Mobarhani as its nominee director in the board of Taageer Finance Co. SAOG, replacing Ali Shahbandian.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Mario Blejer, a former governor of the Central Bank of Argentina, is reportedly among a list of names being considered to replace Karnit Flug as governor of the Bank of Israel, according to Reuters. Other potential candidates include former Bank of Israel Deputy Governor Zvi Eckstein and Hedva Ber, currently supervisor of banks at the Israeli central bank. Flug is stepping down from her post after her tenure ends in November.
* Israel-based online trading platform operator Plus500 Ltd. declared an interim dividend of $1.3786 per share, up from the 23.88 cents paid per share for the first half of 2017, to be paid Nov. 22. The London-listed firm reported unaudited net profit of $261.7 million for the six months to June-end, up from $90.7 million a year earlier.
* The Israel Securities Authority published a draft bill aimed at regulating the activities of broker-dealers that are not Tel Aviv Stock Exchange members and are not categorized as trader platforms, Globes wrote. The regulator wants broker-dealers to be licensed and have independent directors.
* Farshad Heidari, deputy for supervisory affairs at the Central Bank of Iran, said there is no need for any more banks and branches in the country as there are already plenty of those, but noted that the regulator is open to bank mergers, the Financial Tribune wrote, citing Fars News Agency.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* The Bank of Uganda kept its lending rate at 9.0%, saying that core inflation is expected to stabilize around the medium-term target, though it flagged risks related to a weaker currency.
* Ghanaian lenders Omni Bank and Banque Sahélo-Saharienne Pour L'Investissement et Le Commerce (Ghana) Ltd., or Sahel Sahara Bank, are in serious merger talks, with an announcement expected in the coming days, Joy Business reported. The talks are believed to be motivated by challenges in meeting the new 400 million cedi minimum capital requirement imposed by the Bank of Ghana to be achieved by year-end.
* Senegalese Finance Minister Amadou Ba took over as chairman of the board of governors of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, or EBID, for a one-year term, Agence de Presse Sénégalaise wrote.
* Banque Populaire de Mauritanie has made an offer to acquire a 70% stake in Banque Agricole du Niger, or BAGRI, Financial Afrik reported.
* The Central Bank of West African States, or BCEAO, kept its interest rates unchanged at their minimum 2.5% rate, Le journal de l'économie Sénégalaise noted.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Mauritius-based SBM Holdings Ltd. reported second-quarter group loss attributable to equity holders of the parent of 590.6 million rupees, compared to a year-ago profit of 728.5 million rupees. For the first half, the lender posted profit attributable group of 156.0 million rupees, down from 1.31 billion rupees a year earlier, due to an increase in credit loss expense during the period. Its board approved an interim dividend payment of 5 cents per share for the second quarter, to be paid Sept. 20.
* SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd. launched an internal investigation into a $25 million cross-border loan, following reports over its impaired loans, L'Express wrote.
* The National Treasury denied a report that the South African government has approved a 59 billion rand rescue package for distressed state-owned firms, Bloomberg News wrote. The statement comes after The Sunday Times reported that the cabinet discussed a bailout package for state-owned companies South African National Roads Agency Ltd., South African Post Office, South African Airways and South African Broadcasting Corp. during a recent meeting.
* S&P affirmed Angola's B-/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings, with a stable outlook.
* Angola's finance ministry is now authorized to negotiate and sign loan agreements of up to $10 million under a new presidential decree, Macauhub wrote.
* Fitch Ratings affirmed Namibia's BB+/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings, among other ratings. The outlook on the long-term ratings is stable.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: NAB fiscal Q3 cash earnings fall YOY; KKR mulls IPO of most Indian operation
Europe: Lira woes weigh on European markets; Talanx Q2 profit dips; Fitch hikes Greece
Latin America: Brazil central bank OKs 2 M&A deals; Corficolombiana names new president
North America: Fed fines Citi $8.6M; Wells Fargo's legal woes continue
Global Insurance: Bain bids for UK insurer; proxies back Cigna; Talanx Q2 profit dips
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig 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, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.