MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Israel-based online trading platform Plus500 Ltd.'s shares jumped yesterday afternoon after the London-listed company announced plans to buy back up to $50 million of its shares despite an 80% year-over-year drop in attributable net profit to $51.6 million for the first half. The company also warned of a potential regulatory crackdown in Australia over the marketing of complex financial products.
* First International Bank of Israel Ltd. reported second-quarter net profit attributed to shareholders of 224 million shekels, up from 219 million shekels a year earlier. For the first half, the bank's attributable net profit also increased on a yearly basis, to 407 million shekels from 356 million shekels.
* German firm Lucht Probst Associates has acquired Modelity Technologies, an Israel-based technology firm for the financial and capital market industry.
* Israeli startup Colu said it will shutter its blockchain project to focus on its City Currency activity, Globes reported. The move comes more than a year after the firm raised $19 million in an initial coin offering.
* A new mobile payment network in Iran that will operate on Bluetooth technology on mobile phones is set to be unveiled soon, the Financial Tribune reported. The system, to be named Baloot, will not require the use of debit cards and special codes.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to stop providing foreign exchange for food imports, saying foreign reserves should be used strictly for the country's economic diversification, Reuters reported, citing a statement from Buhari's spokesman. The move prompted several observers to stress the central bank's independence, the report noted.
* Swiss Re AG secured regulatory approval to launch an underwriting office in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, to be led by Awa Koné, the Zurich reinsurance company's head of West Africa, Reinsurance News wrote. The move is part of the expansion of the firm's services in the Conférence Interafricaine des Marchés d'Assurances region.
* Estonian cryptocurrency company Totalcoin has launched its operations in East Africa and will commence trading in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, according to The Star.
* Ethiopia is set to hold a national election next year but the date for the poll has yet to be specified, Reuters wrote.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Absa Group Ltd. reported first-half profit attributable to ordinary equity holders of 7.64 billion South African rand, up from the restated 7.25 billion rand a year ago. Headline EPS rose on a yearly basis to 918.4 cents from 877.8 cents, including 863 million rand of costs related to its separation from British banking group Barclays PLC, recognized as operating expenses.
* Former Old Mutual Ltd. CEO Peter Moyo wants the high court to declare the South African financial services firm and its board of directors in contempt of court for failing to immediately reinstate him as CEO, as ordered by the court, Fin24 reported. Last month, the court ruled that Moyo's suspension and subsequent dismissal was unlawful and ordered his temporary reinstatement at the firm but Old Mutual barred him from returning to work as it is appealing the ruling, and argued the notice to appeal suspends the court order.
* South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago filed a defamation lawsuit against Andile Lungisa, a municipal councilor for the ruling African National Congress, citing Lungisa's use of a "highly offensive racial slur" to describe Kganyago in a Twitter post, Bloomberg News reported. Lungisa supports the ANC's proposal to nationalize the central bank, while Kganyago vowed to defend its independence.
* S&P Global Ratings affirmed the zaAAA/zaA-1+ long- and short-term South Africa national scale ratings of Liberty Group Ltd.
* Shareholders of Angola-based Banco Económico SA approved a plan to hike its capital to 416 billion kwanzas from 72 billion kwanzas, reaching a historical level in the country, Expansão reported. The capital increase, which will be funded by current or new investors, will enable the bank to comply with solvency ratios from loan portfolio impairments.
* Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on Nova Sociedade de Seguros de Angola SA to negative from stable, while affirming the Angolan firm's B insurer financial strength rating. The move follows a similar rating action on the sovereign in July.
* The Law Association of Zambia filed a petition at the country's top court in a bid to block the government's proposed constitutional amendments, which include removing the central bank's powers to issue currency as well as clauses that expand the president's powers, according to Bloomberg. The Bank of Zambia said it will keep its ability to issue currency in an amendment to the law that governs it.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: NAB Q3 earnings up 1% YOY; HK IPOs decline; Singapore cuts economic forecast
Europe: New Swiss fees on euro deposits; Talanx raises guidance; Aareal profit flat YOY
Latin America: BBVA Francés, Galicia's profits surge; Argentine central bank ups rates to 74%
North America: CIT, Mutual of Omaha Bank in $1B deal; RBC analyst charged with insider trading
Global Insurance: Genworth selling MI Canada stake; Centene exchange expansion; reinsurance M&A
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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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.