The city of Moscow has postponed the sale of its stake in Russia's United Confectioners in order to attract more potential buyers and "strengthen the competition."

The Auction House of the Russian Federation was scheduled to sell a 26.58% stake valued at RUB10.75bn (US$344m) by auction today (29 November). The auction will now be held in March.

"This will give potential buyers additional time to make a decision about investing in this unique project," said Andrey Stepanenko, general director of the auction house.

The auction house denounced reports in the Russian media that the sale was postponed due to a lack of interest. "We have had several requests from companies, but it is not cheap and potential investors should have time for collecting money." However, it refused to comment on the names of companies interested.

Moscow announced its plans to sell its stake in United Confectioners in August. The confectionery manufacturer is primarily owned by Russian conglomerate GUTA Group and unites 18 businesses throughout Russia. It controls around 13% of the Russian confectionery market.