ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s Savings and Deposit Insurance Fund (SDIF) yesterday extended the sale process of failed bank Toprakbank, which has drawn interest from a consortium including US-based Templeton Asset Management. The SDIF, which is charged by Turkey’s banking watchdog with rehabilitating and selling off failed banks, said it was extending a deadline to register preliminary bids from potential purchasers for the bank to March 1 from February 15. They will then be entitled to inspect the bank’s books and carry out due diligence work until April 9, when final bids will be accepted. The deadline for final bids had been April 2. The Fund gave no reason for the extension. A four-member consortium including Templeton, Turkey’s Global Securities, Avrasya Investment Holding and Piraeus Bank of Greece has already entered a preliminary bid, according to Global Securities. Toprakbank was Turkey’s 20th largest by September 2001 assets when it was seized in November as a threat to the stability of the banking system. Bank support timetable Also yesterday, Turkey’s banking watchdog announced a timetable for a scheme to boost capital in its fragile banking system but gave no firm date for the state injections of cash seen as the last resort of the plan. Turkey aims to encourage lending to a recession-bound manufacturing sector by pushing banks to improve their capital adequacy ratios. Banks whose owners cannot reach target levels will be helped by the injection of matching state funds. Turkey’s IMF pact pact avoids direct government lending to industry, ruled out as fostering the kind of cronyism plaguing Turkey’s economy for decades. The country has just secured a new $16-billion three-year IMF program to help it out of crisis. The Banking Supervisory Board yesterday issued its timetable for the capital increases, aiming to push most banks to act within the first half of this year. With Turkey and the IMF aiming for a return to growth this year, the faster banks can improve their capital positions, the faster they can finance the business world back to growth. The watchdog program envisages bank owners consulting with it in the first half of 2002 on how they aim to reach a target capital adequacy ratio of 8 percent. – The market remains difficult for 30-40,000 dwt, especially out of Continent. A 29,000 dwt bulker was fixed to the East at USD 6,500 daily.