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NCB, First Abu Dhabi post higher profits; Angola ups bank cash reserve ratio

* British bank HSBC Holdings PLC will lay off hundreds of employees in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey as part of its ongoing cost-cutting efforts, with most of the cuts possibly in its global banking, markets and commercial units, insiders told Bloomberg News. The layoffs will reportedly begin in November.

* U.S.-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fired Martin Weber, who ran the bank's financing division in the Middle East and North Africa, over compliance breaches, insiders told Bloomberg News.

* India's Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. opened its first overseas branch in Dubai.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Saudi Arabia-based National Commercial Bank's third-quarter net profit rose on a yearly basis to 2.55 billion riyals from 2.12 billion riyals a year earlier. For the nine-month period to September-end, the lender reported a net profit of 8.01 billion riyals, up from 6.89 billion riyals in the same period in 2018.

* First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC reported third-quarter profit attributable to shareholders of the bank of 3.11 billion United Arab Emirates dirhams, up from 3.02 billion dirhams a year ago. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the lender's attributable profit rose year over year to 9.44 billion dirhams from 9.08 billion dirhams.

* The UAE's central bank proposed measures aimed at protecting banks from excessive exposure to the real estate sector and ensuring that banks with a high level of exposure will be subject to supplemental regulatory requirements, Reuters wrote.

* Qatar First Bank LLC (Public), through unit FutureCard Technologies, has sold its 100% shareholding in Future Industries Holding to Toppan Gravity. The lender said it generated more than $22 million from the transaction, and that the deal size represents no more than 10% of its total assets.

* The number of finance and insurance companies in Saudi Arabia dropped year over year to 6,659 at the end of 2018 from 6,664 a year earlier, Argaam reported, citing data from the General Authority for Statistics.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Kuwait-based Al Imtiaz Investment Group Co. KSC (Public)'s long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings at BBB/A3, with a positive outlook.

* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority has approved the voluntarily delisting of Kuwait Bahrain International Exchange Co. KPSC from Boursa Kuwait. The regulator, meanwhile, imposed fines on Securities Group as some of its employees are exercising activities of an investment portfolio manager without a license.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* S&P Global Ratings placed Lebanon's B-/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications, citing the risk to the country's creditworthiness stemming from mounting fiscal, financial and monetary pressures.

* Salim Sfeir, chairman of the Association of Banks in Lebanon and Bank of Beirut, said Lebanese lenders will remain closed amid continuing anti-government protests for safety reasons until stability is restored, Reuters reported.

* Retired law professor Kais Saied has been sworn in as Tunisia's new president, Reuters reported.

* Rami Ya'ari, senior vice president and customer division head at Israel-based Psagot Investment House Ltd., is leaving the company after CEO Reuven Kaplan opted to eliminate the division and transfer its activities to Psagot's business units, Globes reported. Psagot said the move will also include other layoffs.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* A credit stress test carried out by Nigeria's central bank at the end of 2018 revealed that banks could survive a shock of an up to 75% increase in bad loans, Nigeria's Business Day wrote.

* The Nigerian government has blocked local nonbanking companies and individuals from purchasing high-yielding central bank bonds in a bid to spur bank loans for purposes other than market speculation, the regulator said in letters to banks seen by Bloomberg News. A spokesman for the central bank confirmed the letters, saying pension funds were also excluded from purchases and that the move is in line with a wider policy to penalize banks that fail to increase lending.

* Mohammed Balarabe retired as deputy managing director of Nigeria-based Fidelity Bank PLC, effective Dec. 31.

* Nigerian payments company Interswitch Ltd. issued 23 billion naira of fixed-rate bonds through special purpose vehicle Interswitch Africa One PLC, This Day wrote.

* Telecommunications company MTN Nigeria Communications PLC said a planned new charging model for banking transactions that use unstructured supplementary service data did not take effect following an order by the Nigerian government to suspend the plan, Premium Times reported.

* Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange Managing Director Akin Akeredolu-Ale said the exchange, which will begin trading in a few weeks, aims to partner with Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Inc. to allow seamless settlement of trades across Africa, Nigeria's Business Day reported.

* The IMF said the Bank of Ghana is "well advanced" in its cleanup of the savings and loans and finance house subsectors, noting that the recapitalization of the remaining locally owned banks and the reduction of the overhang of nonperforming loans will be key to increasing credit to the private sector and supporting growth in non-extractive activities.

* Uganda-based East African Development Bank is seeking more than 1.4 billion Kenyan shillings from a restaurant in Nairobi over an unpaid loan, Business Daily Africa reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Former Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. CEO Andrew Darfoor reached a settlement with the South African pension fund administrator in a case related to his allegations of unfair dismissal against the company, South Africa's Business Day reported. Darfoor was dismissed in September 2018 following a disagreement between him and major shareholders over the company's strategic direction and financial performance.

* South African financial services firm Peregrine Holdings Ltd.'s wholly owned unit Stenham Group Ltd. agreed in principle to sell a 50% stake in Stenham Asset Management Holdings Ltd. in a deal that values the target company at £16 million.

* The central bank of Angola increased the cash reserve ratio requirement for banks to 22% from 17% in a bid to curb inflation and stabilize the kwanza, Reuters reported. The Bank of Angola also left the benchmark lending rate unchanged at 15.5%.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Postal Bank gets nod for China IPO; Bank of Japan flags risks from global cycle

Europe: Nordea, RBS post losses; Bankia, ING urged to merge; SocGen sells Nordic unit

Latin America: Chile's central bank cuts rate; Paraguay's central bank slashes growth forecast

North America: Aircastle exploring alternatives; banks fear losing 15% of payments revenue

Global Insurance: Anthem unfavorable development; AIG Lloyd's syndicate; Assurant cat losses

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

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.