Pakistan Stock Exchange, which is seeking to sell a stake to a strategic foreign investor, has received interest from bourses in Qatar and Turkey.
The newly combined bourse in Pakistan needs to find an investor to buy a stake of between 15 to 40 per cent, according to news agency Reuters, which cited Haroon Askari the deputy managing director of the exchange.
An official in Qatar has confirmed the talks but downplayed the interest, while Turkish bourse officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Pakistan has been enacting financial sector reforms to attract more foreign investment and boost the economy, which is growing at the fastest pace in eight years on the back of improved security across the country and lower oil prices.
The main stock exchanges in Pakistan in recent years were demutualised to weaken the influence of stockbrokers and deepen the investor base. Last week the 100-share benchmark index hit an all-time high on anticipation that the global index provider MSCI will reclassify Pakistan from its Frontier Market segment into the Emerging Markets index, which is tracked by investors who manage trillions of dollars in assets.
We have had very serious interest from Istanbul Stock Exchange and Qatar Stock Exchange, Askari told the news agency. A meeting has already taken place with the chief executive of Qatars Exchange, which followed by a visit of another Qatari representative to Karachi. Pakistani bourse officials have also met Borsa Istanbul twice and a high level Turkish delegation has also visited Pakistan to pursue the stake purchase.
Qatar Stock Exchange chief executive Rashid al-Mansoori said the talks were still in infancy.
KPMG is currently evaluating the worth of Pakistani bourse, which has about 500 listed companies with market capitalisation worth about $73bn.