DUBAI - Dubai's transport regulator is in the early stages of exploring strategic options for its assets, including a possible initial public offering of its taxi business, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The emirate's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) plans to invite investment banks to pitch for advisory work which may include a possible assessment for Dubai Taxi Corporation, said the sources, who sought anonymity as the matter is not public.
However, no final decisions have been made in the deliberations, still at very early stages, with any transaction subject to market conditions, one of the sources said.
The RTA did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Wednesday.
Last year, the RTA raised $1 billion and drew orders of $50 billion from selling a 24.9% stake in the public-share sale of its toll-road business Salik.
Dubai Taxi Corp began operations in 1995 with a fleet of 81 cabs that has grown to exceed 5,000 vehicles, its website shows, and also provides services such as commercial buses, school buses, limousine rentals and airport taxis.
In February, the RTA said it aimed to make its taxis 100% environmentally friendly by 2027, through use of hybrid, electric and hydrogen power.
Dubai, the region's financial hub, saw five IPOs rake in nearly $8.5 billion in proceeds last year, fuelled by a government privatisation plan to list 10 state-linked firms to boost stock market activity.
Market watchers feel such future IPO candidates could be energy company ENOC and airport services provider dnata, though the firms and the government have made no public comment.
The Middle East has seen flotations this year by Oman oil driller Abraj Energy and Abu Dhabi's ADNOC Gas .
Regional companies raised $21.9 billion through IPOs last year, more than half the total for the wider Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Dealogic data shows.
(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)