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MENA news through Oct. 10


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MENA news through Oct. 10

* Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged to provide $10 billion in financial aid to Bahrain to support its financing needs, Reuters reported. The three Gulf states have also deposited more than $1 billion in Jordan's central bank as part of a $2.5 billion financial aid package, initially announced in June, to help bolster Jordan's economy.


* The boards of Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank signed a merger agreement to create a bank with a market capitalization of about 64.6 billion Saudi Arabian riyals and 268 billion riyals in assets.

* The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will exceed its goal of raising assets to $600 billion by 2020 amid a push to lower the local economy's reliance on oil, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News. He also said the country will press ahead with Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s IPO by 2021 after the planned purchase of a stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp. delayed the state oil giant's public listing.

* U.K. asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen PLC is in talks with Saudi Arabia regarding the potential launch of one or more investment vehicles that will be seeded by the country's sovereign wealth fund, Bloomberg reported.

* Qatar National Bank QPSC reported third-quarter profit attributable to equity holders of the bank of 3.72 billion Qatari riyals, up from 3.60 billion riyals in the year-ago period. National Bank of Kuwait SAKP and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC also reported a year-over-year rise in third-quarter profits.

* Moody's revised to stable from negative the outlook on Qatar's banking system.

* Alizz Islamic Bank SAOG signed a memorandum of understanding with Oman Arab Bank SAOC for their potential merger after obtaining in-principle approval from regulators.

* Payments solutions provider Network International LLC, in which Emirates NBD Bank PJSC holds a 51% stake, said it is exploring strategic options, including a potential IPO.

* UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum made changes to the anti-money laundering rules of the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Arabian Business wrote. Companies will be given a grace period of three months to comply with the amended law, which is set to be implemented Oct. 29.

* Global consulting firm AlixPartners LLP has decided to redistribute embattled Abraaj Group Ltd.'s stake in the $1 billion Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund to its other investors, insiders told Reuters. Separately, Abraaj Group's art collection, including works said to be owned by founder Arif Naqvi, are set to be put up for auction in London by Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the group's provisional liquidators, to raise funds for the company, The National reported.

* Gulf International Bank BSC said it canceled a planned U.S. dollar bond issuance due to market conditions, Reuters reported.

* Bahraini cryptocurrency exchange Rain plans to obtain a full operational license in 2019 as part of efforts to expand its business in the Gulf Cooperation Council, The National reported.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings revised the outlook on Bahrain's ratings to negative from stable.

* German insurer HDI Global SE intends to place its Bahrain operation into full runoff by mid-2019, The Insurance Insider reported.

* Khalid Turki has resigned as assistant general manager of corporate and international banking at Khaleeji Commercial Bank BSC, effective Oct. 7.

* Medgulf Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Co. CEO Abdulrahman bin Mohamed al-Zuwaidi has resigned.

* Oman-based Taageer Finance Co. SAOG appointed Muhammad Kashif Yaqoob acting CEO, effective Oct. 4.


* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nominated Amir Yaron as the next head of the country's central bank, Bloomberg reported. Yaron succeeds Bank of Israel Gov. Karnit Flug, whose five-year term is set to end in November.

* The Bank of Israel maintained its benchmark interest rate at 0.1%.

* Israel's Finance Ministry named Moshe Bareket commissioner of capital markets, insurance and savings, Reuters reported.

* Israel Discount Bank Ltd. appointed Shaul Kobrinsky its new chairman, replacing Joseph Bachar, Reuters reported.

* Standard Chartered PLC is engaging in "constructive, ongoing discussions" with U.S. authorities regarding its past violations of Iran sanctions and is seeking an "acceptable resolution," The Wall Street Journal reported. U.S. authorities are also looking at whether the U.K.-based bank violated compliance rules related to Iran as recently as 2013, Reuters noted.

* The Iranian parliament passed new measures against terrorism funding and money laundering, according to media reports.


* Finance solutions provider Sarwa Capital's IPO on Egypt's stock exchange was reportedly covered 30.1 times, Reuters wrote. The company previously said its institutional share offering was 10.83x oversubscribed, with the price set at 7.36 Egyptian pounds per share.

* Moody's revised the outlook on the Egyptian banking system to positive from stable.

* EFG-Hermes Holding SAE aims to secure mandates to advise on private sector IPOs and midmarket M&A in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported, citing the company's co-head of investment banking, Mohamed Fahmi. Meanwhile, an EFG spokesperson said the Egypt-based company expects to complete its acquisition of Nigerian broker Primera Africa Securities November.

* S&P Global Ratings lowered the outlook on Morocco to negative from stable.

* Morocco has issued its first sukuk sovereign certificates, La Nouvelle Tribune wrote. The certificates are worth 1 billion dirhams, repayable over a period of five years and offer an annual return of 2.66%.

* CFG Bank SA expects to swing back to profit in 2021 following four years of losses as the Moroccan lender develops its retail banking activities, CEO Younes Benjelloun told Reuters. The bank will also weigh plans for an IPO once its profitability is restored.

* Central Bank of Sudan Governor Mohamed Kheir al-Zubeir said the country's daily currency exchange rate will be set by a newly created body of bankers and exchange bureaus beginning Oct. 7, Reuters reported. The move is part of a series of measures designed to address the country's economic crisis.

* The Caisse Tunisienne d'Assurance Mutuelles Agricoles acquired a 2.49% in Tunis-Ré, taking its stake in the reinsurance company to 5.05%, Il Boursa reported.

Abdelghani Henni and Sophie Davies contributed to this report.

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.