Polish gas monopoly Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, or PGNiG, has pulled out of the consortium bidding exclusively for the group of eight Polish domestic electricity distributors and suppliers, known as G8, arguing that the bid was too high, Polish Press Agency reported Tuesday.

The consortium, led by Polish engineering and telecommunications conglomerate Elektrim SA, has until Nov. 19 to complete exclusive negotiations with the Polish treasury on the purchase of a 25 per cent stake in the G8 or “Northern Group”.

The Elektrim led consortium was initially outbid by Spanish utility Iberdrola who reportedly bid $400m for what analysts see as a strategically important asset. Iberdrola allowed the deadline set for them to elapse, having become disillusioned with the terms of the auction.

Earlier Tuesday, Poland’s largest refiner PKN Orlen SA said it couldn’t rule out quitting the consortium, also suggesting that the bid was too high. Elektrim has said that it was considering bringing a strategic foreign partner into the consortium.

Elektrim is struggling with liquidity, and may be short of cash to pay for G8. According to reports, the consortium initially offered $460m for 25% of G8, but later increased its offer to $501m.

Foreign competitors outbid by Elektrim, such as Belgium’s Electrabel and Germany’s E.ON AG, may still be interested in acquiring a portion of G8, and could be potential Elektrim partners.

Spain’s Endesa SA and Electricit´┐Że France are also believed to be interested in the stake.

But a source close to the tender said that bringing a new partner into the consortium could be questioned by the Treasury. “From a legal point of view, entering a new partner changes a lot, namely the bidder’s credibility, and would be legally debatable. Elektrim must find a proper way of doing it,” the source said.

The G8 consists of eight regional distributors in Gdansk, Torun, Slupsk, Plock, Elblag, Olsztyn, Kalisz and Koszalin. Between them, the eight distributors control 16.3 per cent of Poland’s domestic power market with sales of 16.5 TWh per year to around 2.6m customers.