(Adds background, details, pvs ISTANBUL)
By Orhan Coskun
ANKARA, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Turkey’s privatisation agency issued a tender to sell 100 percent of Baskent Gaz on Thursday and set a bidding deadline of Dec. 17, its latest attempt to sell the Ankara-based gas distribution company.
The Privatisation Administration (OIB) cancelled a previous auction to sell an 80 percent stake in Baskent Gaz for $626 million in April after all four groups withdrew from bidding.
High valuations and tough funding conditions due to the euro zone crisis have forced the postponement of several Turkish privatisation tenders over the past few years.
The bidders to have withdrawn in April were Akfen Holding ; a consortium of Aygaz and Fernas; STFA Yatirim Holding; and a consortium of the companies Kolin, Cengiz and Limak.
An initial tender for 80 percent was won last year by MMEKA, a venture owned by businessmen Mehmet Emin Karamehmet and Mehmet Kazanci, who bid $1.2 billion. But it was cancelled after MMEKA had financing problems and failed to meet its obligations.
The Baskent grid has 1.35 million subscribers and has the potential to attract 500,000 more, OIB head Ahmet Aksu told Reuters in March. (Writing by Seda Sezer, Editing by Nick Tattersall)