Pakistan’s main bourse is to sell a 40 per cent stake next week, a company official said on Friday, citing Chinese and British consortia as among the prospective buyers.

At least 17 entities have expressed an interest in the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), whose benchmark stock index was one of the best performing indices worldwide in 2016, gaining 38 per cent so far. More than 300 Pakistani brokers currently own the PSX.

“We are opening bidding for the 40 per cent share of the PSX on Dec 15,” said Shahzad Chamdia, chief of a PSX divestment committee.

Analysts estimate the deal will be worth around $225 million, but the committee declined to comment. “We have the reference share price being evaluated by a third party and will reveal it only on the bidding day,” said Chamdia.

Sources at the PSX said a consortium consisting of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Shenzen Stock Exchange and a Chinese fund is bidding, as well as another consortium of UK financial institutions led by NASDAQ Technology.

Chamdia did not reveal the names of either consortia but confirmed that Chinese and British stock companies were in the running. Other bidders include Pakistani banks and financial institutions, but their chances of winning are thought to be unlikely.

Following the sale, the company plans to offer 20 per cent of its shares to the public, Chamdia said. Under its stock exchange reforms, Pakistan merged its three stock exchanges - the Karachi Stock Exchange, the Lahore Stock Exchange and the Islamabad Stock Exchange - to form the PSX in January this year.

The benchmark KSE index of 100 shares was at its highest ever level of 45,319 points on Friday, compared with 32,816 points on January 1.