ABU DHABI, March 20 (Reuters) - A long-touted merger between the Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock exchanges is still on the table, the United Arab Emirates' economy minister said on Tuesday, with a committee expected to present its recommendations by year-end.
The owners of the Dubai Financial Market, the only listed Arab bourse, and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange announced two years ago that they were in high level talks on a merger. The process has been stalled on valuations, sources have said.
"It is still being discussed. A committee has been created to discuss ... they will report back to ESCA and then we will evaluate," said Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, who is also chairman of the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA).
"I do hope by the end of the year we will have some kind of indication, it has to be done in a very systemic way. It serves the interests of both markets."
The minister also said he expected to see more mergers take place among UAE firms in the wake of a proposed tie-up between Abu Dhabi's two largest listed real estate firms, Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate.
"We are looking at the financial sector," he told reporters on the sidelines of a business conference, adding the industrial, transportation and logistics sector were also candidates. "Any sector that's facing challenges, one way out of the challenge is to create a merger.
"It's not necessarily two, it could be more than two or more (companies)." (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Amran Abocar)