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SSA news through Jan. 3

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SSA news through Jan. 3

EAST AFRICA

* Kenya-based Britam Holdings PLC said it expects its 2018 earnings to fall by at least 25% from a year earlier, primarily due to the performance of the stock market and the "challenging" operating environment, Business Daily Africa reported. The insurance group expects to post a net profit of up to 395.5 million shillings for 2018, compared to 527.4 million shillings posted in 2017.

* KCB Group PLC aims to double its home-loan business by the 2020-end by offering loans with longer repayment periods, CEO Joshua Oigara told Bloomberg. The Kenyan mortgage lender, with 70 billion shillings in home loans, is targeting about 20,000 mortgages on its books in two years.

* Cytonn Asset Managers Ltd. has been registered and authorized by Kenya's Retirement Benefits Authority to provide fund management services for retirement benefit schemes, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Kenya's Capital Markets Authority has warned the public against participating in any initial coin offering or trading in any coin exchange, particularly one styled as www.kenicoinexchange.com, offered by Wiseman Talent Ventures.

WEST AFRICA

* Ghana, Nigeria and other West African Monetary Zone member countries agreed to develop a national currency swap agreement in a bid to stimulate trade in the region, Vanguard wrote.

* S&P Global Ratings revised to stable from negative the outlook on Diamond Bank PLC and raised the bank's long-term Nigeria national scale rating to "ngBB" from "ngBB-," among other rating actions, after it signed an agreement to merge with Nigerian peer Access Bank PLC Access Bank PLC. The agency also affirmed Access Bank's B/B long- and short-term issuer credit ratings and ngA/ngA-1 Nigeria national scale ratings, with a stable outlook.

* First National Bank Ghana Ltd. is in preliminary talks to take over GHL Bank Ltd., Joy Business reported. GHL Bank reportedly entered the talks as it faced challenges meeting the Bank of Ghana's new capital requirement due to problems with one of its biggest shareholders, United Arab Emirates-based private equity firm Abraaj Group Ltd.

* The Bank of Ghana has reportedly given its final approval for the merger between Omni Bank and Banque Sahélo-Saharienne Pour L'Investissement et Le Commerce (Ghana) Ltd., or Sahel Sahara Bank, according to Graphic Online. The combined entity will be named Omni-BSIC Bank Ghana Ltd.

* Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd. has assumed all deposits and loan portfolio of Bank of Baroda (Ghana) Ltd. Bank of Baroda (Ghana) Ltd., effective Jan. 2, Joy Online reported. The unit of India-based Bank of Baroda stressed that the move was part of efforts to comply with the Indian government's guidelines to rationalize banks' overseas operations and dismissed suggestions it was avoiding the Bank of Ghana's 400 million cedi minimum capital requirement.

* Six unidentified indigenous banks in Ghana agreed to a 280 million cedi bailout package from the government, relinquishing part of their stakes in exchange for equity investment from the state to meet the central bank's new minimum capital requirement by the 2018-end deadline, Joy Business reported.

* Bank of Africa Ghana Ltd. expects to complete the recapitalization process to meet the Bank of Ghana's new minimum capital requirement and receive full approval from the central bank by Jan. 7, Graphic Online reported.

* CalBank Ltd. has met the Bank of Ghana's minimum capital requirement by the 2018-end deadline, according to Joy Online.

* Former Bank of Ghana Governor Paul Acquah was named chairman of the country's newly created Fiscal Stability Council, which is tasked with ensuring fiscal discipline by the government, according to Modern Ghana.

* United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Ltd. appointed Isong A. Udom as managing director, Joy Business reported. Udom replaces Abiola Bawuah, who was promoted to the position of regional CEO for West Africa for United Bank for Africa PLC.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The U.S. Justice Department said former Credit Suisse Group bankers Surjan Singh, Andrew Pearse and Detelina Subeva were arrested in London on charges relating to a $2 billion fraud scheme involving loans to state-owned firms in Mozambique, The Wall Street Journal reported. The recent arrest of former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang in South Africa at the request of U.S. authorities was also revealed to be related to charges linked to the loans, Reuters noted.

* Former Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina was declared the provisional winner of the country's presidential elections, Bloomberg News reported.

* South African Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Francois Groepe has resigned, effective Jan. 31, "to pursue outside opportunities." The central bank said the process of appointing his successor is currently underway. Groepe is stepping down following debate over the direction of South Africa's monetary policy, according to Reuters.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Angola's B/B long- and short term foreign- and local-currency issuer default rating and removed them from Rating Watch Evolving. The outlook on the long-term ratings is stable.

* Angola's Banco Prestígio is set to begin offering credit for investment, after having bolstered its capital to 7.8 billion kwanzas from 2.5 billion kwanzas to meet the central bank's requirement, Angola Press reported. The bank has so far only provided short-term credit.

CENTRAL AFRICA

* The Democratic Republic of the Congo's electoral commission warned that results from the Dec. 30, 2018, presidential election could be delayed past the Jan. 6 deadline as vote-counting centers had received just 17% of local tallies, according to Reuters.

Mariana Aldano contributed to this report

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.