India’s BSE, operator of Asia’s oldest stock exchange, has chosen 14 banks for its initial public offering planned for the first half of 2013, its chief executive said on Thursday. The company is seeking an offering that would value it at about $1 billion, Ashishkumar Chauhan said on Thursday. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, Barclays Capital, UBS and the arms of Indian banks Kotak Mahindra Bank and ICICI Bank are among the lead managers of the planned IPO, he told Reuters. “The process is on. We are targeting a launch in the first half of next year,” Chauhan said. Founded in 1875, the BSE, formerly known as Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd, has long considered an IPO. India’s capital markets regulator in April approved listing of local stock exchanges, subject to some conditions. BSE says it is the world’s No. 1 exchange in terms of listed members, with about 5,000 companies listed on it. But rival National Stock Exchange, founded in 1993, has eclipsed BSE in trade volumes. Frankfurt-based Deutsche Boerse and the Singapore Exchange own a 5 per cent stake each in BSE, whose Sensex index remains India’s benchmark stock index alongside the rival NSE’s Nifty index. Sensex up A benchmark index for Indian equities markets on Thursday closed 95 points higher after BSP leader Mayawati voiced support to the government on allowing foreign capital in multi-brand retail in the upper house of parliament. The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 19,475.09 points, closed at 19,486.80 points, up 94.94 points or 0.49 per cent from its previous close at 19,391.86 points. This was the third straight day of gain for markets. The index touched a high of 19,523.25 points, recovering 300 points from the day’s low of 19,186.24 points intra-day. The BSE midcap index was up 51.21 points, while the smallcap index edged higher by 33.95 points. The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange was up 30.40 points or 0.52 per cent at 5,930.90 points.