Turkish state fund postpones sale of vehicle firm BMC

ISTANBUL, April 8 (Reuters) - Turkey said on Tuesday it was postponing the sale of armoured vehicle maker BMC, seized from Cukurova Holding a year ago, in a further blow to the conglomerate as it battles to recover a controlling stake in mobile phone operator Turkcell.

The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) said it was postponing an auction for BMC, whose sale price it had previously estimated at 958 million lira ($454 million), to April 30 from April 10 as it held out for the best possible bid.

The TMSF seized BMC, along with 11 other group companies, from Cukurova last May, alleging that it failed to make payment on $455 million worth of debts owing to the fund.

Cukurova is also in dispute with shareholders in Turkcell, Turkey’s biggest mobile phone operator, over its 13.8 percent share in the firm, a controlling stake due to its complex ownership structure.

Russia’s Altimo, an arm of tycoon Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group, appropriated the stake when Cukurova defaulted on a $1.35 billion loan. Cukurova has been ordered to pay around $1.6 billion to Altimo to recover the stake, although the deadline for the payment has repeatedly been postponed. ($1=2.1103 lira) (Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall, Greg Mahlich)