KUWAIT CITY  - Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority signed an agreement Sunday with HSBC bank for the privatisation of the Kuwait Stock Exchange and setting up a new company to run the bourse.

Under a law passed two years ago, 50 percent of the Kuwait Stock Exchange Company would be put up in an initial public offering while the rest would be sold to companies listed on the bourse.

The agreement was for a period of six months under which HSBC bank would begin the privatisation process, KSE Company’s Abdullah al-Gabandi told a news conference.

“We are confident that the privatisation of the stock exchange will be of a great benefit to Kuwait’s economy, investors and the listed companies,” he said.

Parliament in 2010 passed legislation to set up the CMA as an independent regulator for Kuwait’s stock market with an aim to boost transparency in the Arab world’s third largest bourse in terms of capitalisation.

The market has a capitalisation of around $100 billion and lists 215 local and foreign companies.