MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Israel's central bank published its final criteria for entities looking to purchase the credit card companies that will be separated from Bank Hapoalim BM and Bank Leumi le-Israel BM, in a bid to boost competition in Israel's financial industry. The two lenders are required by law to sell the credit card companies they own by 2020 or reduce their holdings to below 40% if the companies' shares are issued on the stock exchange.
* Qatar National Bank (QPSC) has hired CI Capital to advise on the sale of around 2.1% of the group's stake in Egyptian unit QNB Alahli SAE to comply with the free float requirements of the Egyptian Stock Exchange. Following the sale, QNB Group's stake in the unit will stand at approximately 95%.
* GFH Financial Group BSC said it received confirmation from Jassim Al-Seddiqi for the withdrawal of his resignation. In November 2017, the company said Al-Seddiqi resigned from its board of directors.
* Nasdaq Dubai Ltd. launched futures trading on the Dubai Financial Market general index and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange main share index to provide attractive new products for international and regional investors.
* Qatar Islamic Insurance Co. QPSC's board recommended a cash dividend of 3.5 Qatari riyals per share for 2017. The company reported full-year 2017 net profit of 61.9 million riyals, compared to 63.5 million riyals a year earlier.
* Burgan Bank KPSC said it has received regulatory nod to buy and sell 10% of its shares for a period of six months.
* Meanwhile, Burgan Bank Deputy CEO Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri told Al-Anba that the Kuwait-based bank plans to expand locally to increase its market share, which stands at 8%, and profitability.
* Gulf Insurance Group KSCP's board proposed a cash dividend of 30 Kuwaiti fils per share for 2017, Reuters reported. The group's full-year 2017 net profit attributable to the owners of the parent company declined year over year to 10.3 million dinars from 12.0 million dinars.
* Egyptian Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said his country plans to sell $3 billion to $4 billion worth of eurobonds in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which starts July, Reuters wrote, citing Al-Arabiya.
* The National Bank of Egypt is seeking to secure $500 million in loans from international institutions by June-end as part of efforts to finance growth and bolster dollar liquidity, Bloomberg News wrote, citing Deputy Chairman Yehia Abou Elfotouh.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenya could potentially issue a new eurobond worth between $1.5 billion and $3 billion before the end of the first quarter, an insider told Business Daily Africa.
* Kenya's Capital Markets Authority fined KCB Group Plc and British American Asset Management 10.14 million Kenyan shillings for breaching investment levels in Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd., Standard Digital reported.
* Crane AB, a banknote manufacturer based in Sweden, accused the Central Bank of Kenya of collusion to award a new currency tender contract to British banknote manufacturer De La Rue, saying the contract was awarded after the Kenyan government took a 40% stake in De La Rue's local unit, Business Daily Africa reported. Crane said it was the successful bidder for the said contract, based on the findings of the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board.
* Orient Bank Ltd. secured a bancassurance license from the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda, The Observer wrote.
* Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Inc. announced the closure of a $200 million, five-year syndicated credit facility with the Netherlands Development Finance Co., Financial Afrik wrote. At least 75% of the loan facility will be targeted at small and medium-sized businesses in various sectors of the economy.
* Ethiopia declared a six-month state of emergency a day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned Feb. 15, as part of efforts to curtail unrest and violence in the country, Reuters and the Financial Times reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* South Africa's high court ruled in favor of Barclays Africa Group Ltd. unit Absa Bank Ltd. by setting aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings Absa unduly benefited from a series of bailouts provided by the apartheid-era government and must repay roughly 1.1 billion South African rand, Reuters reported.
* Standard Bank Group Ltd. unit Standard Bank Namibia Ltd. appointed Anne Juuko head of corporate and investment banking, replacing Amit Mohan, according to the Namibia Economist. The bank also named Titus Ndove head of public sector and market intelligence.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings lowered Nedbank Ltd.'s long-term foreign-currency rating to BBB- from BBB and revised its financial strength rating outlook to negative.
* ZB Financial Holdings Ltd.'s board declared a final dividend of 1.83 U.S. cents per share for 2017. The Zimbabwean lender reported full-year 2017 profit attributable to owners of the parent of $14.4 million, compared to the year-ago $9.9 million.
* António Graça, the executive director of Angola's Banco Sol SA, urged local businesses to seek financing from the lender at the opening of a new branch in the farming town of Ganda, O País and state news agency Angop reported.
* The IMF rejected Zambia's latest borrowing plans, saying the proposal provided by the authorities "continue to compromise the country's debt sustainability and risk undermining its macroeconomic stability," according to Reuters. The IMF's move puts on hold a potential $1.3 billion loan that Zambia hopes to complete early this year.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Fairfax India to buy Catholic Syrian Bank stake; AMP life unit sale at risk
Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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