MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has officially appointed JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and HSBC Holdings Plc as international financial advisers for its planned partial IPO, insiders told Reuters. Saudi Arabia plans to sell up to 5% of Saudi Aramco and list shares in Riyadh and another as-yet-unnamed international exchange.
* Fitch Ratings acted on several Saudi Arabian banks, including downgrading the long-term issuer default ratings of National Commercial Bank, Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. and Arab National Bank. The actions follow Fitch's recent downgrade of Saudi Arabia's sovereign rating.
* Bank Hapoalim BM posted fourth-quarter 2016 net profit attributed to shareholders of 138 million Israeli shekels, down from 586 million shekels in the same period in 2015, dragged down by a provision relating to a U.S. tax evasion probe and a decrease in the corporate tax rate.
* Bank Leumi le-Israel BM reported fourth-quarter 2016 net profit attributable to shareholders of 443 million shekels, up from 431 million shekels in the year-ago period. The lender said it will adopt a new 20% dividend policy, with effect from the first quarter of 2017, marking the lender's first dividend distribution in six years.
* Today is the last day for Delek Group Ltd. and Yango Investment PTE. LTD. to complete the terms of closing for the sale of the former's stake in Phoenix Holdings Ltd. to the Fujian Yango Group Co. Ltd. unit. Each of the parties involved in the sale agreement would be entitle to cancel the transaction if the terms have not yet been completed today.
* Riyad Bank's board approved the appointment of Abdulmajeed Abdullah Almobarak as CEO. He has been the bank's acting CEO since Oct. 31, 2016.
* Dubai Holding LLC said CEO Fadel al-Ali and Vice Chairman and Managing Director Ahmad bin-Byat have stepped down from their posts, Reuters reports. The departures comes several days after Dubai Emir Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum named Abdulla al-Habbai chairman of the investment vehicle.
* Alizz Islamic Bank SAOG approved the issuance of Additional Tier 1 capital in the form of Islamic bonds to raise as much as 30 million Omani rials through a private placement, CPI Financial reports.
* Bank Dhofar SAOG shareholders approved the increase of the bank's authorized capital to 500 million Omani rials from 220 million rials.
* The Central Bank of Egypt maintained its overnight deposit rate at 14.75%, overnight lending rate at 15.75%, as well as its main operation rate and discount rate at 15.25%.
* Leila Mokaddem, representative of the African Development Bank in Cairo, said the AfDB disbursed a $500 million loan to Egypt, the second of three loan tranches from the lender, Reuters writes.
* The AfDB approved a $450 million trade finance package for the Egypt-based African Export-Import Bank. The facility will help expand Afreximbank's risk bearing capacity for the confirmation of letters of credit and to support more trade through the provision of increased liquidity to local financial institutions and corporates in Africa.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* The Central Bank of Kenya issued an invitation to investors keen on taking an equity interest in Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd., which is currently under receivership, with the aim of completing a transaction by Sept. 30. Interested parties are required to submit their expressions of interest in Chase Bank by April 21.
* The members of the Nigerian Stock Exchange approved the demutualization scheme of the exchange. The members also approved the appointment of FirstRand Ltd. and local investment firm Chapel Hill Denham to guide the NSE through the process of going public, Reuters notes.
* Nigeria-based Keystone Bank Ltd. appointed Umaru Modibbo board chairman and Hafiz Bakare acting managing director, effective April 1, Premium Times reports. The lender was recently acquired by Sigma Golf Nigeria Ltd. and Riverbank Investment Resources Ltd. from the Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria.
* The Togolese government has decided to merge Banque Togolaise pour le Commerce et l'Industrie and Union Togolaise de Banque, following unsuccessful privatization attempts, Togo Tribune writes. The merger could take effect by year-end.
* Citi Sénégal named Pape Massamba Sall director general, Financial Afrik writes. He joined the Citigroup Inc. unit in 2008.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* After days of speculation, South African President Jacob Zuma fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, potentially further damaging the country's already fragile economy. Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will replace Gordhan in a wide-reaching cabinet reshuffle and become South Africa's fourth finance minister in two years, while Sifiso Buthelezi will become deputy finance minister.
* The South African rand weakened significantly against the dollar following news of Gordhan's sacking and is now headed to its worst week since 2015, according to Bloomberg News. The currency weakened significantly following the news, reaching more than 13.41 rand to the dollar around midnight, Fin24 writes.
* Gordhan's dismissal could also lead to rating agencies downgrading South Africa's credit ratings to junk status within days, the Financial Times notes.
* The South African Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee kept the repurchase rate unchanged at 7% per annum, though one member voted for a reduction of 25 basis points. The central bank noted that the inflation outlook has improved but warned that the risk of further rand weakening amid "heightened domestic political uncertainty" overshadows the inflation outlook.
* Meanwhile, President Zuma is considering offering to resign next year as part of a deal with opponents in the African National Congress for the ouster of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, insiders tell Reuters. While Zuma is due to step down as leader of the ruling ANC in December after serving two terms, he is expected to remain the country's president until elections in 2019.
* Sygnia Ltd. will acquire all issued shares in db X-trackers (RF) Pty. Ltd. from Deutsche Bank AG's Deutsche Group Holdings (SA) Pty. Ltd. for a total consideration of 325 million rand in cash. Sygnia will use a 320 million rand bridge loan from Nedbank Ltd. and internal cash resources to fund the acquisition, which is expected to take effect on or before Aug. 31.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Ousted South Korean president arrested; YES Bank issues 49B rupees of shares
Europe: Brexit reactions; FCA spares banks; Lloyd's of London FY'16 profit flat
Latin America: Banco Patagonia IPO still in play; Brazil plans 42B reais spending freeze
North America: Synovus may buy Cabela's card portfolio; merchants get partial win on swipe fees
North America Insurance: Ryan unwilling to engage with Democrats; Minnesota reinsurance bill up for vote
Leo Magno, Sarah Raslan, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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