* Sluggish growth and political and trade uncertainties as risks for financial institutions across emerging markets in 2020, Moody's said, noting that slower economic activity could lead to a more challenging business climate. The agency said the overall negative outlook on emerging European, Middle Eastern and African economies is driven by tough operating conditions. Meanwhile, banks in emerging EMEA economies carry a negative outlook, including the banking sectors in Turkey, Nigeria and South Africa.
* U.K.-based investment firm CDC Group PLC is aiming to double its portfolio size in Africa with an additional £2 billion investment in local businesses over the next two years. The company said it agreed to a $100 million trade finance loan with South African bank Absa Group Ltd. and inked a memorandum of understanding to commit $100 million to Commercial International Bank (Egypt) SAE. It also signed a $75 million trade finance deal with Burundi-based Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank.
* Africa-focused payments firm Flutterwave Inc. secured a $35 million funding and will cooperate with Worldpay Inc. and Visa Inc. on its expansion ambitions in the continent, Business Day reported.
* Fitch Ratings affirmed the B/B long- and short-term issuer default ratings of United Bank for Africa Senegal SA and United Bank for Africa Cameroon SA, with a negative outlook on the long-term ratings. Fitch also affirmed the United Bank for Africa PLC units' viability ratings at "b-" and their support ratings at 4.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Kuwait Finance House KSCP CEO Maazin Saad al-Nahedh said the firm's merger with Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank BSC will be completed within 18 to 24 months, while the full transformation is expected to be finalized within 3 years. He added that the transformation of AUB - Bahrain, AUB - Egypt and AUB - Britain to Islamic banks will take between 6 to 12 months.
* Kuwait-based Unicap Investment and Finance Company KSCP appointed Usama Saidan its head of compliance.
* Abu Dhabi-based Shuaa Capital PSC said one of its international units agreed to manage an investment portfolio of assets valued at about $400 million, a transaction expected to increase the group and its subsidiaries' AUM to $13.4 billion.
* Dubai-based Mashreqbank PSC appointed Tarek el-Nahas its new group head of international banking, according to a press release carried by Thomson Reuters' Zawya. El-Nahas most recently served as head of corporate and investment banking for North Africa, Egypt and Levant at Citibank.
* Saudi Arabia began marketing U.S. dollar-denominated bonds, according to a document seen by Reuters. A first tranche of the bonds has a seven-year maturity with an initial price guidance of about 110 basis points above the U.S. Treasurys benchmark, while a second tranche has a 12-year maturity initially priced at 135 basis points above the benchmark. A third 35-year tranche was initially priced at 180 basis points above the benchmark. Each tranch is expected to be of benchmark size of at least $500 million.
* Qatar Islamic Bank QPSC issued $650 million in five-year Formosa sukuk under its $4 billion trust certificate issuance program. The bonds are listed on both the Taipei and Irish stock exchanges, it noted.
* GFH Financial Group BSC is set to issue $300 million five-year sukuk with a yield set at 7.5%, a document seen by Reuters showed. The transaction attracted more than $750 million in demand.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Lebanon formed a new government coalition led by Hassan Diab as prime minister following months of mass protests that have led to a financial and economic crunch, news outlets including Reuters and The Wall Street Journal covered. Ghazi Wazni, who was named finance minister, said the new government requires foreign aid to steer the country through the crisis, Reuters wrote.
* The union of exchange dealers in Lebanon and the central bank agreed to set the maximum rate for foreign exchange at 2,000 Lebanese pounds to the U.S. dollar, effective today, Reuters reported.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed the B+/B long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings of Jordan-based Housing Bank for Trade & Finance.
* Tunisia's central bank launched a regulatory sandbox for financial technology firms to help determine ways it should change regulation, according to Il Boursa. During the launch, Minister of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy Anouar Maârouf said a 100% digital branchless bank is set to enter the country this year, Tunis Afrique Presse reported.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. raised 127 million Ghanaian cedis in a private placement, increasing its issued share capital to 700 million cedis, Pulse Ghana reported. This also takes the bank's ordinary issued shares to 300,798,407 with no par value.
* Ghana-based Bayport Savings & Loans named Francis Wood its new chairman, Citi Business News reported. Wood has been the company's substantive chairman since September 2019 following the departure of Kwame Pianim.
* Members of the Nigerian Insurers Association has called on the National Insurance Commission to help them meet capital requirements by lowering the cost of a recapitalization exercise, Business Day wrote.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Moody's lowered the long- and short-term issuer ratings of Land & Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa to Ba1/Not Prime from Baa3/Prime-3, among other actions. The outlook on the long-term issuer rating is negative.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Australian P2P lender eyes IPO; local governments lead Baoshang Bank rescue
Europe: UBS revises targets as FY'19 profit falls; JPMorgan speeds up Brexit plans
Latin America: Caixa, Icatu strike partnership; stable outlook for LatAm banks
North America: Michigan CUs join forces; Goldman in South Africa; Currenex buyers wanted
Global Insurance: Australia ice and fire; airline insurance prices up; pet insurance market growth
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper 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.