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Qatar National Bank posts YOY rise in Q2 profit; Absa unveils growth strategy

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Qatar National Bank QPSC reported second-quarter profit attributable to equity holders of the bank of 3.70 billion Qatari riyals, up from 3.45 billion riyals in the year-ago period. For the first half, the lender reported profit attributable to equity holders of the bank of 7.10 billion riyals, up 7% from 6.65 billion riyals in the first six months of 2017.

* A court in the United Arab Emirates has again adjourned until July 15 a case against Abraaj Group Ltd. founder Arif Naqvi and another executive over a bounced check, Reuters reported. Sources told the newswire that the claimant, Hamid Jafar, is expected to abandon the case as he is close to reaching a settlement with the defendants.

* Ajman Bank PJSC said it has no direct exposure to Abraaj but that it was involved in a syndicated funding to Stanford Marine, which is 51% owned by Abraaj Capital, The National noted. Dubai Islamic Bank (PJSC) said it has no exposure to Abraaj, while SHUAA Capital PSC said it holds together with its clients a 3.6% stake in The Abraaj Buyout Fund II LP collectively worth around $8.8 million.

* The Shariah committee of the UAE's Securities and Commodities Authority has ordered Shariah-compliant banks to use the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions standards, or AAOIFI, starting Sept. 1, Emarat Al Youm reported.

* Marwan Alsawaleh has resigned from the board of directors of Union Insurance Co. PJSC.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC's financial strength rating at BBB+.

* The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has asked banks to take part in a multi-billion dollar loan, which will be the sovereign wealth fund's first ever loan, insiders told Bloomberg News.

* Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co. received regulatory nod from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority to increase its capital by 200 million Saudi Arabian riyals to 300 million riyals through a rights issue.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* The Israeli government aims to divest its remaining 5.8% stake in Bank Leumi le-Israel BM within a year following parliamentary approval, Reuters wrote. The state is looking to sell the stake, worth 2 billion Israeli shekels, in a block trade to financial firms that will distribute the shares to investors in Israel and in other countries.

* Israel-based private equity firm The Trendlines Group Ltd. named Haim Brosh its CFO, joint company secretary and compliance officer.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Sandeep Raichura, CEO of Kenya-based Zamara — formerly Alexander Forbes East Africa Ltd. — said the company is working with several other local pension managers to combine their resources and jointly invest in capital-intensive infrastructure projects, Bloomberg reported. Raichura added that the consortium is finalizing a nonbinding agreement with several U.S. pension funds interested in jointly investing with the Kenyan funds.

* Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd. CEO Jeremy Awori said the proposed financial markets conduct laws may not benefit financial markets but instead create unnecessary overlapping regulations that could increase costs for firms, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio ordered the creation of a judge-led commission of inquiry to immediately audit several entities, including state-owned Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Ltd. and closely held Rokel Commercial Bank Ltd., following increasing allegations of widespread corruption against the country's previous government. Maada Bio also ordered that both banks recover unpaid loans owed by politically and financially exposed persons within 30 working days, or face litigation. Bloomberg has a report.

* Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Act, which paves the way for the creation of a central financial intelligence agency that will monitor financial transactions in the country, Bloomberg wrote.

* FBNBank Ghana Ltd. said it will rely on its Nigeria-based parent, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., to raise 25% of funds it will require to meet the Bank of Ghana's minimum capital requirement of 400 million cedis before the Dec. 31 deadline, Citi Business News wrote.

* Ghanaian investment firm and fund manager Dusk Capital launched an IPO to raise 500,000 Ghanaian cedis for its unit trust, Citi Business News reported.

* Ghana will most likely miss its 6.8% economic growth target due to a slowdown in lending by Ghanaian banks, which are reluctant owing to a loans-defaulting trend, according to Bloomberg.

* Portugal's Novo Banco SA concluded the sale of a 90% stake in Banco Internacional de Cabo Verde SA to Bahrain-based IIBG Holdings BSC for an undisclosed sum and will maintain a 10% holding in the bank, Jornal de Neogócios reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Barclays Africa Group Ltd. has rebranded to Absa Group Ltd. and started trading under the new name and a new share code on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. CEO Maria Ramos outlined a growth strategy to restore the group's local market share in retail banking and double the sales contribution from its 10 operations across Africa, Reuters noted.

* Zambia's Pensions and Insurance Authority granted Stanbic Bank Zambia Ltd. an insurance brokerage license, the first one issued to a commercial bank in the country, Zambian Business Times reported.

* Filomeno Ceita, chairman of Banco de Comércio e Indústria SA, said the state-controlled lender is readying 13 billion Angolan kwanzas in provisions for nonperforming loans, which represent about 25% of its total credit portfolio, Jornal de Angola reported. He added that the bank is working with the finance ministry and state-run vehicle Recrédito to reduce its bad loans, and that it expects a capital injection of 6.4 billion kwanzas to be approved in the coming days.

* Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA said it had not yet finalized the terms of a credit line in partnership with the African Development Bank aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, Novo Jornal noted. The statement follows reports on social media about the criteria for the credit line.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Ex-China securities regulator pleads guilty; CBA accepts regulatory fine

Europe: Deutsche in controversial adviser hire; comdirect sells brokerage unit for €151M

Latin America: Argentina holds key rate; Chilean banks face tougher fines on network security

North America: Citi to set up China desk in India; Deutsche Bank taps Cerberus as adviser

Global Insurance: Global cat losses limited in H1; Aviva exits Spain; Axa reveals XL branding

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.