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Fitch cuts Nigeria outlook; Mashreqbank FY'16 profit dips YOY


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Fitch cuts Nigeria outlook; Mashreqbank FY'16 profit dips YOY


* Mashreqbank PSC reported fourth-quarter 2016 net profit of 441 million UAE dirhams, down from 556 million dirhams in the same period a year ago, Reuters reports. Bad loan impairments rose 34% on a yearly basis to 425 million dirhams. The bank's full-year 2016 profit reached 1.9 billion dirhams, down year over year from 2.4 billion dirhams.

* Dubai Islamic Bank (PJSC) recommended a 45% cash dividend as it posted a 6% year-over-year rise in 2016 income to 4.05 billion UAE dirhams. Impairment losses declined to 392 million dirhams from 410 million dirhams in 2015.

* National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC's board of directors will meet Jan. 31 to discuss approving the establishment of new debt programs and amend some of the bank's existing debt programs.

* Amlak Finance PJSC named Gaurav Agarwal COO, effective from Jan. 22.

* Boubyan Bank KSCP Deputy CEO Abdulla al-Tuwaijri said the Kuwaiti lender has no plans to issue bonds over the next two years, according to Al-Anba.

* National Bank of Oman SAOG's board recommended paying a cash dividend of 15.92% and a stock dividend of 5%, or 1 share for every 20 shares held, for the 2016 financial year.

* Qatar Insurance Co. SAQ proposed paying shareholders a cash dividend of 1.5 rials per share and issuing 3 bonus shares for every 20 shares held.

* Bank Leumi le-Israel BM sold a 4.6% stake in Kenon Holdings to Ansonia Holdings Singapore for 112.5 million Israeli shekels, leaving the lender with a 2.3% stake in the company, Reuters reports.

* Egyptian Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy tells Bloomberg News that his country's planned stamp duty on stocks will not be "of any magnitude that will hinder investors from coming" to ensure that demand for its equities remains strong. El-Garhy also said the government stands with its decision to delay the introduction of a capital gains tax until 2020.

* Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said the country asked for a $400 million loan from the World Bank to fund labor-intensive projects and micro and small-sized enterprises, Egypt Independent reports.


* Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on Nigeria's long-term issuer default ratings to negative from stable, citing concerns that severely restricted access to foreign exchange will weigh down on the country's economy. The agency noted that the local banking sector has experienced worsening asset quality on the back of a weakening economy, oil-related problems and exchange rate pressures.

* Investors are keen on purchasing dollar-denominated bonds that Nigeria is expected to issue by March-end, despite a currency crisis and other economic problems that the country is currently facing, Reuters writes. Kieran Curtis, investment director at Standard Life Investments, noted that the government has access to hard foreign currency even if businesses in the country have limited access to foreign cash.

* Ghana-based Royal Bank Ltd. appointed Osei Asafo-Adjei managing director and CEO, effective Jan. 16, Citi Business News reports. Asafo-Adjei, who previously served as executive director of corporate banking at HFC Bank (Ghana) Ltd., replaced Robert Kow Bentil.

* The IMF Executive Board approved just over $134.0 million in funding under the extended credit facility for Niger to support the local authorities' national plan for economic development. The IMF said Niger has a favorable medium-term economic outlook but noted that policy priorities must focus on preserving the country's fiscal and debt sustainability.

* Ecobank Transnational Inc. unit Ecobank Sénégal SA lost 111 million West African CFA francs in a heist at a branch in Yeumbeul, Le Quotidien reports.

* The African Development Bank approved a $90 million financial package, comprising a $50 million line of credit and $40 million trade finance line of credit, to Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. to boost funding for small and medium-sized enterprises and local corporates in Kenya and to reduce Africa's trade financing gap.


* Sanlam Ltd. is set to acquire a 53% stake in life insurance provider BrightRock Holdings Pty. Ltd. The transaction price depends on the date of completion, but is not expected to exceed 707 million South African rand if the deal completes in the first half.

* Konrad Reuss, head of the sub-Saharan region of S&P Global Ratings, said a lack of improvement in South Africa's economic growth and fiscal performance could put pressure on the country's current BBB- sovereign rating, which is just one notch above junk status, Reuters reports. In addition, the rating agency said rising political tensions amid infighting in the ruling African National Congress could disrupt South Africa's efforts to improve policy implementation.

* Shareholders in Moza Banco SA approved increasing the bank's capital by more than 8 billion Mozambican meticais, O País writes.

* Equatorial Guinea expects a decision soon regarding its application to join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, following what Energy Minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang said were "fruitful discussions" with the cartel, according to Reuters.


Asia-Pacific: South Korea, Malaysia renew currency swap; Japanese, UK banks end partnership

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Leo Magno, Henni Abdelghani and Pádraig Belton contributed to this report.

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