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Israel's First International Bank sees Q1 profit up; MTN's mobile money push

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority lifted the ban on Al-Etihad Cooperative Insurance Co. from issuing and renewing motor insurance policies after it managed to address issues raised by the regulator.

* Saudi Arabia-based AXA Cooperative Insurance Co. secured regulatory nod to hike its capital to 500 million riyals from 450 million riyals.

* Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) saw inflows of roughly $7.29 billion ahead of its inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Market Index, according to Gulf News.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed the AAA/F1+ long- and short-term issuer default ratings of Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank Group, with a stable outlook on the long-term rating.

* National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah PSC CEO Peter England told Al Arabiya TV that the lender's second-quarter profit will be in line with that in the previous quarter and that provisions for the period will slightly decline. He added that the lender's profit margin is weak compared to peers as it stands at 5.3%, Argaam reported.

* The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates said local banks are ready to meet Basel III requirements and that work is underway to prepare capital requirements for banks as part of the regime, according to Al Khaleej reported.

* The UAE's Securities and Commodities Authority said that Compass Insurance Brokers and SICO Bank are not licensed by the regulator, Al Bayan wrote.

* Investcorp Bank BSC received approval from Bahrain's central bank to transfer all of its regulated business activities in the country to Investcorp Financial Services BSC, its newly incorporated investment business firm.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings adjusted the short-term foreign-currency rating of Qatar Islamic Bank QPSC to A1 from A2, while affirming its A+ long-term foreign-currency rating. It also assigned a bank stand-alone rating and a core financial strength rating of "a-" to Qatar Islamic Bank. The outlook on the long-term rating and bank stand-alone rating is stable.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* First International Bank of Israel Ltd. posted first-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders of 183 million shekels, up from 137 million shekels a year ago.

* The Egyptian stock market and the government are weighing changes to the tax law to combine capital gains taxes and stamp duty charged on equities investments in a bid to cap the amount paid in stamp duties, Egyptian Exchange Chairman Mohamed Farid told Reuters.

* Bank Audi SAE, the Egyptian unit of Lebanon's Bank Audi SAL, plans to bolster its foothold in Egypt following its acquisition of the local unit of National Bank of Greece SA, Daily News Egypt reported, citing Mohamed Bedir, its acting CEO and managing director. The bank is now working to get approval from the Egyptian central bank for the acquisition.

* CI Ratings downgraded to B from B+ the long-term foreign-currency rating of Export Development Bank of Iran and revised the outlook on the rating to stable from negative. CI Ratings also assigned the firm a bank stand-alone rating and a core financial strength rating of "b."

* Nechirvan Barzani was elected president of Iraq's Kurdistan region, Reuters wrote. Barzani has been serving as the region's regional prime minister.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* The annual pay of Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd. CEO Jeremy Awori rose by 12.9% to 101.1 million shillings in 2018, Business Daily Africa wrote. The bank is poised to earmark billions of shillings to rebrand and overhaul its IT systems as part of its emancipation from London's Barclays PLC, the newspaper noted.

* Ghanaian central bank Governor Ernest Addison said there are not enough resources at present to fund the 7 billion-cedi cleanup of the country's nonbanking sector, Joy Business reported. Instead, the regulation will start with cleaning up the microfinance sector, which would only cost the government roughly 1 billion cedis.

* George Uboh, the man who accused Nigerian central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele of fraud, was jailed following a defamation suit filed by Emefiele, Premium Times noted. Uboh had sued Emefiele in the country's high court, challenging the government's plan to grant him a second term.

* Nigeria's debt management office said the government is poised to issue up to 15 billion naira of green bonds to finance projects under renewable energy, afforestation, and transportation.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South African telecom firm MTN Group Ltd. is planning to form a "financial services market place" app in a bid to transform its mobile money platform MoMo into Africa's largest bank, Reuters reported. The group initially plans to enable payments through MoMo and eventually offer banking products like loans, savings and investments, among others.

* A consortium of investors including U.K.-based Apis Partners LLP and Crossfin Technology Holdings has acquired South African payments firm Sureswipe for an undisclosed sum, Bloomberg News reported. Sureswipe will be consolidated under Crossfin Transactional Services.

* Altu Sadie, former CFO for cards and electronic banking at Ecobank Transnational Inc., has questioned the soundness of Public Investment Corp. (SOC) Ltd.'s investment in the Togo-based banking group, South Africa's Business Day wrote. The South African sovereign wealth fund's initial $250 million investment in Ecobank in 2012 had depreciated by 66% over the last seven years to $165 million.

* FNB Moçambique SA, a unit of South Africa's FirstRand Ltd., is planning a series of capital increases over the next two years as part of its repositioning strategy. Paulo Pereira, a director at FNB Moçambique, told O País that the bank planned to refocus its operations on big companies and retail and investment banking. The bank carried out a $5 million capital increase in 2018 and Pereira said several more had been approved by shareholders for this year and 2020, with a return to profit seen in 2021.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Pakistan bourse CEO resigns; Kenanga gets regulatory nod to buy Libra Invest

Europe: Germany eyes higher capital buffer for banks; Aviva mulls split of UK business

Latin America: Banco de Bogotá's profit rises; BCI to enter payment processing market

North America: Global Payments buying Total System in $21.5B deal; Nasdaq pulls Oslo Børs bid

Global Insurance: Centene urged to weigh sale; NFIP in peril; First American Financial data leak

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper 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.