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Absa Group to boost lending in Africa; UBS to split EMEA wealth unit into 3


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Absa Group to boost lending in Africa; UBS to split EMEA wealth unit into 3

* Structured finance issuance across the globe is on track to top $1 trillion for the third consecutive year in 2020, though risks are tilted to the downside, S&P Global Ratings said in a report.

* Moody's said the outlook for global investment banks in 2020 is stable, noting that lenders remain largely well-positioned despite the persistent low interest rate operating environment and a less-than-robust global economic outlook.

* Global banks are increasingly considering environmental, social and governance factors in their underwriting processes, Fitch Ratings said in a report.

* Swiss bank UBS Group AG is splitting its wealth management business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa into three as part of the restructuring of its private banking business, Bloomberg News reported. Ali Janoudi will run the Middle East and Africa regions.


* The Saudi Arabian cabinet has granted Bank of China Ltd. a license to establish a branch in the country, Reuters wrote, citing a tweet by Saudi Press Agency.

* A Saudi Arabian court last week approved more than $7 billion of claims against collapsed conglomerate A. H. Algosaibi & Bros. Co. from more than 70 financial institutions, including Saudi and regional banks, as well as international lenders including BNP Paribas SA, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings PLC and JPMorgan Chase & Co., Reuters reported, citing court documents. The court, however, rejected two of four claims by Bahrain-based The International Banking Corp. BSC, which plans to appeal the rejection.

* Dubai's government will separate the roles of CEO and chairman in state and semi-state companies in the emirate under a corporate overhaul, Reuters reported, citing a tweet by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Boards of state-backed firms were also urged to form committees to evaluate investment and risk management.

* Al Madina for Finance and Investment Co. - K.S.C.P. will undertake a series of measures to adjust its accumulated losses, which exceeded 20% of its capital, during the 2020 fiscal year.

* Bahrain-based United Gulf Holding Company B.S.C. said its acquisition of a 51.8% stake in Bank of Baghdad PJSC is expected to complete in the first quarter. The Bahraini firm has agreed to purchase the stake from Kuwait's Burgan Bank KPSC.

* Sovereign wealth fund Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. has appointed Citigroup, Gulf International Bank, HSBC Holdings, National Bank of Bahrain and Standard Chartered to set up meetings with investors for a potential issue of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, Reuters reported, citing a document by one of the banks.


* Israeli insurance technology company Sapiens International Corp. NV is acquiring German technology provider sum.cumo AG for up to €28.4 million.

* Investors in Iraqi government bonds are concerned that Iraq could threaten to withhold debt payments to push back against sanctions the U.S. has threatened it would impose on the Middle Eastern nation following the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, Bloomberg News reported.

* Ongoing conflict in Yemen has brought risks to the insurance market to levels that threaten the survival of the companies operating in the sector, Middle East Insurance Review reported, citing Al Araby.

* The Central Bank of Egypt has submitted a new banking law to parliament for discussion and ratification, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The draft law regulates cooperation between the central bank, government and authorities responsible for monitoring the financial sector, and includes regulations related to digital currencies, among other things, Ahram noted.

* Egyptian investment conglomerate Raya Holding Company for Financial Investments (S.A.E) has completed restructuring efforts after receiving regulatory approvals to set up a new company, Aman Holding for Non-Banking Financial Services, with paid-in capital of 375 million Egyptian pounds, Arab Finance wrote. Aman Holding will comprise Raya Holding units Aman for Electronic Payments, Aman Microfinance and Aman for Financial Services.

* The board of Commercial International Bank (Egypt) SAE greenlighted a proposal to increase the company's issued and paid-up capital to 14.78 billion Egyptian pounds from 14.69 billion pounds through the release of the employee stock ownership plan's shares, Arab Finance reported.


* Kenyan bank KCB Group PLC injected an undisclosed amount of cash last week into recently acquired unit National Bank of Kenya Ltd., which faced capital shortfalls for years, Business Daily Africa wrote, citing KCB Group CFO Lawrence Kimathi. KCB reportedly estimated an initial injection of up to 7.5 billion shillings for NBK, with the actual figure to depend on the success of the recovery of NBK's nonperforming debts.

* Nigeria-based United Bank for Africa PLC has asked hundreds of employees to resign as part of ongoing restructuring efforts, insiders told Premium Times.

* The Central Bank of Nigeria has unveiled a risk and information security management framework for the Nigerian payment system, which it said will guide the management of risks.

* Nigeria's National Insurance Commission said all local insurers have yet to meet recapitalization requirements, denying claims by some companies that they have complied with the new rules, TheCable wrote.

* Nigerian investment manager DEAP Capital Management & Trust PLC said it will be unable to file its audited financial results for the year ended Sept. 30, 2019, on time for the Dec. 29, 2019, deadline due to issues with the AMCON Inc., adding that the accounts will be ready for filing on or before the end of this month.

* Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission approved a further extension of the offer period of Wapic Insurance Plc's rights issue of 15,613,194,623 ordinary shares, which was due to close Dec. 31, 2019, but will now close Jan. 10, 2020.

* Ghanaian banks' nonperforming loans increased to 7.19 billion cedi in October 2019 from 7.14 billion cedi a year earlier, but their NPL ratio declined to 17.3% from 20.1% over the same period, Joy Online wrote, citing data from the Bank of Ghana.

* Ghana's Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. carried out a private placement of more than 39 million ordinary shares to the Ghana Amalgamated Trust at a placement price of 3.25 cedi per share to raise 127 million cedis as part of its recapitalization exercise.

* Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé accepted a request by the ruling UNIR party to seek another term in the coming Feb. 22 election, Bloomberg reported.

* Souleymane Waigalo, CEO of Banque Nationale de Développement Agricole du Mali, said the bank will increase its contribution to the Malian economy, particularly in conflict zones, Agence Ecofin reported. The entity plans to grant 500 billion CFA francs of credit to various sectors of the economy hit hard by the security crisis.


* World Bank Group unit Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency agreed to provide Absa Group Ltd. guarantees of $497 million to boost the South African bank's lending capacity in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia. Absa said the guarantees will protect it from risks related to mandatory capital requirements and help increase sustainable financing for corporates, small businesses and projects with climate benefits.

* Angolan banks have started selling foreign currency to individual customers without them first having to show proof of overseas travel, Jornal de Angola and Novo Jornal reported. The easing of controls follows a decision late last year by the central bank, which set a maximum limit of $120,000 per year for dollar purchases for travel, overseas bank transfers and family assistance.


Asia-Pacific: China to boost banks' capital; Thailand revises rules on bank fees

Europe: UBS revamps EMEA wealth unit, to cut 500 jobs; 2 German co-op banks in M&A talks

Latin America: Banco BV plans IPO; Mexico approves 2,700 branches for Banco del Bienestar

North America: Blucora to acquire HK Financial Services; Citigroup amps up hiring of coders

Global Insurance: Australia bushfire insurance losses surge; Neon headed for runoff; cat bonds

Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper 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.