* The Dubai Financial Services Authority and the Central Bank of Egypt have signed a memorandum of understanding on supervisory cooperation, according to WAM News Agency. The deal tackles financial crime prevention, consolidated supervision of common firms and crisis management, among others.
* Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have demonstrated "high interest" in investing in SoftBank Group Corp.'s second Vision Fund, Reuters reported, citing the Japanese firm's CEO, Masayoshi Son. Talks with the country and emirate are still ongoing.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Fitch Ratings said it expects M&A activities between Islamic banks in the Gulf region to increase since many lenders still fall short in terms of their market position to enable them to compete with larger peers. However, the agency noted that banks' issuer default rating will likely be unaffected by any deal since ratings are driven by an assumption of sovereign support in case of need.
* Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corp. BSC, or Bank ABC, posted second-quarter profit attributable to shareholders of the parent of $57 million, a decrease from the year-ago $60 million. The bank's attributable profit for the first half also dipped year over year to $112 million from $113 million.
* Saudi Investment Bank swung to second-quarter net losses of 284.7 million riyals from a year-ago profit of 336.8 million riyals, as operating expenses jumped 207.9% year over year due to higher provisions for credit and other losses. The bank's first-half net loss came in at 3.3 million riyals, compared with a profit of 682.8 million a year ago.
* Although the first-half net profit of the four biggest banks in the United Arab Emirates — First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC — increased to roughly 19 billion dirhams, Moody's still expects the full-year profitability to fall to a still-sound 1.7% from 1.8% in 2018. Operating expenses and provision charges are also expected to rise.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings upgraded the short-term foreign-currency rating of Industrial Bank of Kuwait KSC to A1 from A2 while affirming its long-term foreign-currency rating at A+, with a stable outlook. CI Ratings also assigned the lender a "bbb+" bank standalone rating, with a stable outlook.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Israel's central bank is amending the system it uses to assign identification codes to payments service providers to accommodate new nonbank firms operating in the market. The regulator will accept comments on the plan until Sept. 30.
* Italy's Azimut Holding SpA has completed its acquisition of Rasmala Egypt Asset Management SAE after buying 499,000 shares for 211.3 million Egyptian pounds, Amwal Al Ghad wrote. Following the deal, Rasmala will be renamed Azimut Egypt Asset Management.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenya's Parliamentary Committee on Finance and National Planning recommended that the government reject the offer of KCB Group PLC to acquire the entirety of National Bank of Kenya Ltd., saying the offer does not correspond to the correct value of NBK, Reuters reported. The committee added that the state should instead proceed with a rights issue of NBK to raise more capital.
* Stanbic Bank Kenya Ltd. has offered voluntary early retirement packages to some 255 employees as part of job cuts aimed at lowering costs, according to a memo seen by Capital FM. Staff reportedly have until Aug. 9 to respond to the offer.
* Kenya's Treasury has tapped international banks to arrange a syndicated loan facility of up to 150 billion shillings to partly fund the country's 2019 budget, Business Daily Africa reported. Kenya's debt level stood at about 5.81 trillion shillings, according to central bank data.
* NilePay PLC has launched the first licensed mobile money service in South Sudan called NilePay Mobile Money in partnership with telecoms operator Zain South Sudan, Standard Digital reported.
* The Ghanaian banking sector is better positioned to withstand losses after their minimum capital requirements were increased under the government's cleanup of the sector, according to Fitch. The agency added that further consolidation could happen in the sector given that the number of banks relative to population remains high.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Investec Group, which comprises London-listed Investec PLC and Johannesburg-listed Investec Ltd., has clinched all key regulatory approvals for the planned demerger of its Investec Asset Management business, which will then be separately listed through a dual-listed companies structure. The planned spinoff is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, pending shareholder and other customary approvals.
* South Africa Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago reiterated that he would fight to ensure the independence of the central bank if it is threatened by plans to return the bank to public ownership, Reuters reported. Kganyago also criticized the nationalization plan, saying the move is driven by foreign investors who could profit from it.
* The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe said it will fight a $100 million lawsuit filed by the local units of London-based Cambria Africa PLC after Paynet Zimbabwe suspended services to banks due to unpaid bills, Bloomberg News wrote, citing court documents. Cambria claimed that the suspension prevented it from transacting with compliant banks and disrupted payment flow, leading to revenue losses.
* Angolan state oil company Sonangol became the biggest shareholder in Banco Económico SA, which absorbed the remains of the local unit of failed Portuguese lender Banco Espírito Santo SA, Expresso reported. As part of an operation to boost Banco Económico's capital by approximately $500 million in order to improve solvency ratios hit by loan impairments, Sonangol boosted its stake in the Angolan bank to roughly 70.4%.
* The Angolan government has overhauled state-run bad bank Recredit SA in line with demands by the IMF for it to solely manage nonperforming loans from Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA, Expansão wrote. The IMF-led overhaul also envisions Recredit being wound down after 10 years.
* The Botswana Stock Exchange is seeking to accelerate its equity and bond listings, aiming to have 45 listed firms and at least 50 bonds by 2021, The East African wrote. However, the target could be hindered by the continue decline of yields especially in the bourse's Domestic Companies Index, the total capitalization of which had fallen to 42.4 billion pula in 2018 from 50.2 billion pula in 2015.
* The central bank of the Central African states is setting up a regulatory and legal regime for the supervision of Islamic banking activities, according to Financial Afrik.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: AMP revives life insurer sale; rate cuts across APAC; Pakistan halts India trade
Europe: Nets in €2.85B deal; UniCredit, ABN Amro profits rise; Commerzbank result dips
Latin America: SoftBank buys Banco Inter stake; Banco do Brasil, Banco Pan's share offerings
North America: Apple/Goldman credit card launches; Happy State Bank to buy in-state peer
Global Insurance: 3 insurers exposed to Capital One breach; Greenlight's future; European earnings
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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