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SSA news through March 14


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SSA news through March 14


* Equity Group Holdings PLC unit Equity Bank (Kenya) Ltd. CEO James Mwangi has voiced opposition to a law requiring Kenyan lenders to fully disclose cash transactions of more than 1 million shillings, saying banks are not well positioned to carry out such moves, The Kenyan Wall Street reported, citing Mwangi's interview with Citizen TV.

* Denmark-based Investment Fund for Developing Countries provided a 1.2 billion Kenyan shilling capital injection for Sidian Bank Ltd. in a deal that will give the fund an option to convert the loan to a stake of roughly 20% in the Kenyan lender, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Kenya's High Court threw out a liquidation suit against Genghis Capital Ltd by clients claiming that the investment firm failed to settle their funds deposited in the collapsed Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd., Business Daily Africa reported. The court ruled that the clients invested their funds in a separate entity, Genghis Capital Unit Trust Fund.


* The Economic Community of West African State, or ECOWAS, said it is ready to launch a single currency for the bloc by 2020, Pulse reported. The union said it has adopted a revised roadmap to speed up the use of a common currency.

* Nigeria's central bank and postal service are set to launch a National Microfinance Bank with pilot branches in seven locations within the country, insiders told The Punch.

* Access Bank PLC reported full-year 2018 profit attributable to owners of the bank of 94.02 billion Nigerian naira, up from a restated 60.09 billion naira a year ago. The bank's board recommended a final dividend of 25 kobo per ordinary share, bringing the total dividend for 2018 to 50 kobo per share. It has entered into a subordinated syndicated loan agreement totaling $162.5 million.

* Guaranty Trust Bank PLC expects its pretax profit to reach 220 billion naira in 2019, compared with 215.6 billion naira in 2018.

* Former Skye Bank PLC Chairman Tunde Ayeni has been arraigned in a Nigerian court on 10 counts of charges related to money laundering for allegedly conspiring to divert 25.4 billion naira of depositors' funds at the defunct lender, Business Post reported.

* Continental Reinsurance Plc said an application has been submitted with the country's Securities and Exchange Commission for final approval of the scheme of the company's entire acquisition for cash or shares by Continental Reinsurance African Investments Ltd.

* Baobab Microfinance Bank CEO Kazeem Olarenwaju said the bank will increase its capital base to 5 billion naira from the current 2.9 billion naira, The Punch reported.

* Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd. and the Ghana Commodity Exchange inked a memorandum of understanding to build a framework for settlement of trades, Joy Business reported.


* FirstRand Ltd. posted normalized earnings attributable to ordinary equity holders of 13.34 billion South African rand for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2018, up from 12.46 billion rand in the same period in 2017. Separately, its unit Rand Merchant Bank is seeking to appoint new leadership for its corporate finance division following the departures of co-heads Craig Forbes and Puso Manthata later in 2019, Bloomberg News reported.

* Absa Group Ltd. reported full-year 2018 profit attributable to ordinary equity holders of 13.92 billion South African rand, up from a restated 13.89 billion rand in 2017. The bank is considering expansion into growth markets such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Egypt.

* Absa, Nedbank Ltd., and Standard Bank Group Ltd. have laid off 2,236 employees across their South African retail, corporate and investment banking and wealth units in 2018, Moneyweb reported.

* Old Mutual Ltd. reported preliminary IFRS profit after tax attributable to equity holders of the parent of 36.57 billion rand for full year 2018, up from a represented 14.37 billion rand a year earlier. Headline earnings increased year over year to 14.24 billion rand from 13.14 billion rand. The company also announced a share buyback program of approximately 2 billion rand.

* RMB Holdings Ltd. declared a dividend of 178 cents per share for 2018, up from 168 cents a year ago, as the group's profit attributable to equity holders of the company rose year over year to 5.36 billion rand from 4.10 billion rand.

* Former Liberty Holdings Ltd. Group CEO Thabo Dloti has been appointed a nonexecutive director and chairperson of the boards of African Bank Ltd. and parent African Bank Holdings Ltd.

* Finbond Group Ltd. appointed Greg Labuschagne CFO, effective immediately. Labuschagne has served as the group's acting CFO and financial director since November 2018.

* African Rainbow Capital Investments Ltd. appointed Anil Currimjee to its board as an independent nonexecutive director, effective March 11.

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.