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SSA news through Aug. 3

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SSA news through Aug. 3

EAST AFRICA

* KCB Group Plc reported net profit of 10.26 billion Kenyan shillings for the first six months of 2017, compared to 10.28 billion shillings in the same period in 2016. Net interest income increased on a yearly basis to 23.15 billion shillings from 22.50 billion shillings. The company announced an interim dividend of 1 shilling per share for the first half.

* Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Ltd. completed the acquisition of Pakistan-based Habib Bank Ltd.'s Kenyan unit. The Competition Authority of Kenya has ordered Diamond Trust Bank Kenya to retain the staff of Habib Bank Kenya as a precondition for the regulator's approval of the takeover, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Kenya's High Court granted a 12-month extension of the receivership of Imperial Bank Ltd., following an agreement with shareholders and depositors to enable the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corp. to invite expressions of interest from potential strategic investors that would lead to a resolution of the receivership. This marks the third time that Imperial Bank's receivership has been extended, Capital FM noted.

* Kenyan insurance underwriter Britam Holdings Plc launched an asset management unit in Uganda. Ronald Kasolo, previously country manager for Uganda at GenAfrica Asset Managers, was reportedly named general manager of Britam Asset Managers (Uganda).

* Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the governor of Uganda's central bank, said President Yoweri Museveni has given the "go ahead" to shutter failed lender Crane Bank Ltd., the Daily Monitor reported. The development came after a December 2016 report commissioned by the central bank showed that more than 12 entities and individuals, including major shareholder Sudhir Ruparelia, could face charges over allegations of mismanagement and fraud at the lender.

WEST AFRICA

* Portugal's Novo Banco SA agreed to sell a 90% stake in Banco Internacional de Cabo Verde SA to Bahrain-incorporated IIBG Holdings. Completion of the deal will have a neutral impact on the Portuguese bank's common equity Tier 1 ratio.

* Côte d'Ivoire's government has approved the sale of a 51% stake in Banque de l'Habitat de Côte d'Ivoire to Canada's WestBridge Mortgage, Jeune Afrique reported. Tunisia's Banque de l'Habitat was also vying to take the stake. The privatization of Banque de l'Habitat de Côte d'Ivoire is now complete and the sale is expected to complete before year-end.

* First Bank Nigeria Holdings Plc reported second-quarter group profit attributable to owners of the parent of 13.04 billion Nigerian naira, down from the year-ago 14.89 billion naira. The group's first-half profit also declined year over year, to 28.69 billion naira from 35.36 billion naira.

* Diamond Bank Plc reported first-half group profit attributable to owners of the bank of 9.29 billion Nigerian naira, up from 8.99 billion naira in the same period in 2016. Net interest income rose on a yearly basis to 61.69 billion naira from 49.97 billion naira.

* Nigeria has allowed lenders to use a currency window for investors when quoting the naira instead of the official rate as part of efforts to unify the nation's multiple exchange rates, Bloomberg News wrote.

* HFC Bank (Ghana) Ltd. received approval from its board to ask shareholders to raise 50 million cedis in additional capital in a bid to meet the Bank of Ghana's minimum capital requirement before 2017-end, Graphic Online reported. HFC Bank also received board approval to be renamed Republic Bank Ghana in line with the new ownership structure.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Nedbank Group Ltd. reported first-half profit attributable to equity holders of the parent of 5.24 billion South African rand, down from 5.44 billion rand in the same period in 2016. The group noted that its performance was negatively impacted by its share of the loss from associate Ecobank Transnational Inc.

* The South African Reserve Bank said it would ask the high court to set aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's finding that it did not recover interest from bailout funds provided during the apartheid era to Barclays Africa Group Ltd. unit Absa Bank Ltd., Reuters reported.

* Standard Bank Group Ltd. intends to start in September a prime brokerage business within its global markets division and expects to have five hedge-fund clients by 2017-end, Andy Hall, the bank's head of global markets, told Bloomberg.

* Hollard Insurance Co. Ltd. named Saks Ntombela group CEO, effective Oct. 1. He will replace Nic Kohler, who will join parent company Yellowwoods to assist in managing its growing global insurance interests.

* Angola's central bank left its benchmark rate unchanged at 16%. The central bank said consumer prices had continued on a downward trajectory since January though annual inflation remains above 30%.

* Angolan bad bank Recredit intends to spend $2 billion on buying nonperforming debt from the country's lenders, according to CEO Filipe Duarte, state newspaper Jornal de Angola reported. News website Macauhub quoted Recredit Chairman Vicente Leitão as saying the company was negotiating the purchase of bad loans from Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA and Banco de Comércio e Indústria SA, among other banks.

* Mozambique's central bank concluded its intervention in Moza Banco SA, nine months after weak solvency ratios prompted the monetary authority to take control of the lender, O País reported.

CENTRAL AFRICA

* S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings downgraded the ratings of the Republic of Congo following the nonpayment of principal and interest on the country's U.S. dollar notes, initially due June 30. Moody's also downgraded the country's ratings after it defaulted on its sole outstanding eurobond.

* The Democratic Republic of the Congo's newly created Insurance Regulatory Authority requested letters of intent from companies seeking to start an insurance business, a move that will put an end to state-owned Société Nationale d'Assurance's monopoly on the industry, Bloomberg reported. Managing Director Eric Mboma said the regulator expects to grant licenses in the fourth quarter after receiving interest from at least 16 firms.

* The banking sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains weak despite the number of bank accounts in the country rising to 6 million from 50,000 between 2000 and 2016, Jeune Afrique wrote. The country now has 18 commercial banks, but their total $5 billion balance sheet is small for a country of more than 70 million inhabitants, the report said.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.