Polish Treasury Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek extended until Nov. 30 exclusive status given to the consortium formed by telecoms and engineering conglomerate Elektrim and Kulczyk Holding to buy a 25 per cent stake in the group of eight electricity distributors and suppliers known as G8, the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

Elektrim had until Monday to negotiate the terms of the purchase, but the consortium requested extension of exclusive talks to complete talks with the trade unions of G8 companies on a package of benefits to be granted to employees.

The Dow Jones Newswires reported a source familiar with the deal saying Tuesday that Elektrim and the treasury have signed a preliminary deal on sale of the 25 per cent stake in G8, but the consortium hasn’t persuaded employee unions to accept a benefits package.

Elektrim now finds itself in the position of a previous G8 suitor, Spain’s Iberdrola SA which in October agreed preliminary terms with the treasury, but failed to close the deal due to union opposition.

Should Elektrim fail to reach a deal with unions by Nov. 30, the ministry could reopen talks with other bidders – including Iberdrola, Belgium’s Electrabel, and Germany’s E.On AG or cancel the tender.

The G8, grouping eight regional distributors in Gdansk, Torun, Slupsk, Plock, Elblag, Olsztyn, Kalisz and Koszalin, controls about 16 per cent of Poland’s power market.