The merger of the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Stock Exchanges into the PSX could pave the way for more foreign investor interest, observers said.
“All the three stock exchanges are being merged into a single national stock exchange from Monday,” LSE chief Aftab Chaudhry told AFP.
“The merger will help in selling the exchange to a strategic buyer as part of the demutualisation plan,” said Mohammad Sohail, chief of Topline Securities, a Karachi-based investment house.
Under the plan the PSX would become a listed company on the exchange with 40 percent of its shares offered to foreign buyers — 20 percent in an initial public offering (IPO) and the remaining 40 percent allocated to listed brokers.
Foreign investors can already trade on the existing exchanges, but the new bourse would be better organised with greater international links, observers said.
“The new buyer would be likely to introduce new derivatives and would facilitate new listings, providing much needed depth and breadth in the market,” Sohail said.
The KSE was set up in 1947 with only five listed companies and a market capitalisation of just 37 million rupees ($37 million according to exchange rates at the time). It now has 572 companies listed with the total value of 6,958 billion rupees ($696 billion).