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SSA news through Dec. 20

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SSA news through Dec. 20

* Sub-Saharan Africa-focused financial services group Atlas Mara Ltd. reported profit attributable to shareholders of $30.6 million for the first nine months of 2018, up from $15.8 million in the same period a year ago, while the group's third-quarter net profit amounted to $2.0 million. Atlas Mara also said unit ABC Holdings Ltd. completed the partial IPO of African Banking Corp. of Botswana Ltd. on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

EAST AFRICA

* Kenya-based HF Group PLC appointed Robert Kibaara CEO, replacing Frank Ireri.

* Family Bank Ltd. has agreed to pay a 64.5 million Kenyan shillings fine for its role in the suspicious transactions related to money stolen from the country's National Youth Service, according to Standard Digital.

* Depositors of Imperial Bank Ltd. will have access, beginning Dec. 20, to 12.7% of eligible deposit balances remaining in the collapsed lender, Capital FM reported. Separately, KCB Group PLC said it aims to complete its acquisition of Imperial Bank by March 2019 and will absorb some of the failed lender's branches and employees, according to The Star.

* Kenya's Capital Markets Authority granted a money manager license to Standard Investment Bank Ltd. to engage in online foreign exchange trading, marking the country's first under the money manager license category.

* Kenya Diaspora Alliance Global Chairman Shem Ochuodho said the group, which comprises Kenyans living abroad, is looking to open a microfinance bank aimed at pooling their investments in the country, The Star reported.

WEST AFRICA

* Diamond Bank PLC confirmed reports that it has reached an agreement to merge with Nigerian peer Access Bank PLC. The deal, which will see Access Bank acquire the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank, will create the largest retail bank in Nigeria and Africa by customers.

* Meanwhile, Access Bank said it has concluded plans with some partners to raise $250 million in additional capital, as it moves ahead with the planned merger with Diamond Bank, according to Pulse Live Kenya.

* Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Inc. dismissed allegations that it overstated its financial results, especially for its Nigerian operations. Its response follows a report in South Africa's The Sunday Times that claimed the pan-African lender had applied incorrect exchange rates to boost its accounts and that it was facing an investigation from a Nigerian regulator.

* The Bank of Ghana reportedly has no objection to discussions regarding a planned merger between First Atlantic Bank Ltd. and Energy Commercial Bank Ghana Ltd., Joy Business reported. The move paves the way for the two lenders to merge and meet the central bank's new minimum capital requirement of 400 million Ghanaian cedis by the December-end deadline.

* CalBank Ltd. and Societe Generale Ghana Ltd. have met the Bank of Ghana's minimum capital requirement ahead of the December-end deadline, Citi Newsroom and Graphic Online reported.

* Chief Linus Ukachukwu, CEO of Lingo Nigeria Ltd., has demanded 1 billion Nigerian naira in damages from Ecobank PLC, which he accused of forging his documents to open an account for his firm to collect dividends amounting to about 50 million naira of Lingo Nigeria shares, according to Nigeria's Independent.

* Sam Okojere, director of payment system management at the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the regulator will no longer condone failure of banks to report fraud-related cases, ThisDay reported.

* India-based Bank of Baroda decided to shut down its branch in Ghana by June 30, 2019, along with two other overseas branches, to comply with the Indian government's guidelines to rationalize banks' overseas presence, the Press Trust of India reported, citing a regulatory filing.

* Société Générale Côte d'Ivoire SA changed its name to Société Générale Côte d'Ivoire, as part of the group's pan-African expansion plans, Financial Afrik reported.

* Access Bank (Ghana) PLC named Olumide Olatunji managing director, effective Dec. 5. Olatunji replaces Kris Njoku, who was appointed to the post in July but has now taken up a new role within Access Bank PLC.

* Fidelity Bank Ghana Ltd. named Deputy Managing Director Julian Kingsley Opuni managing director, replacing Jim Baiden, effective Dec. 1, Joy Business reported.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Moza Banco SA announced the acquisition of 100% of the capital of Banco Terra SA, as part of a strategy to consolidate the assets portfolio and financial structure of the company, O País reported. In a second operation, Moza performed a capital increase through the fund management Arise, which will now hold 29.5% of the bank's shares.

* Stanlib, a unit of insurance group Liberty Holdings Ltd., has paid back performance fees to some of the asset manager's affected investors, Fin24 reported. The move came after a probe by South Africa's Financial Sector Conduct Authority found that Stanlib charged investors fees that were not disclosed in legal documents for some of its unit trusts. The regulator fined Stanlib 500,000 South African rand for the breach, which the asset manager described as "an administrative oversight."

* Angolan cash transactions may be limited to 3 million kwanzas for individuals and 5 million kwanzas for companies if a proposed review of the country's penal code is passed. Deputy attorney general Mota Liz said the measure's aim is to prevent the circulation of large cash quantities outside the financial system, Macauhub reported.

* The Bank of Namibia revised down its predicted GDP growth for 2018 and 2019, citing weaker year-to-date performances in sectors including retail trade, real estate and business services.

CENTRAL AFRICA

* Beginning January 2019, all commercial banks operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will have to increase their minimum capital to $30 million, Les Dépêches de Brazzaville reported.

Mariana Aldano and Pádraig Belton contributed to this report.

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.