Greece's OPAP offers voluntary redundancy scheme -union

ATHENS, July 3 Thu Jul 3, 2014 7:19am EDT

ATHENS, July 3 (Reuters) - Greece's betting monopoly OPAP has begun a voluntary redundancy scheme for about three-quarters of its staff to cut costs, one of its biggest unions said on Thursday.

OPAP, one of Europe's largest betting companies, declined to say whether it was offering the scheme, which will mainly affect its retail network supporting services, according to a document outlining the programme seen by Reuters.

Greece sold a majority stake in OPAP to Czech-Greek fund Emma Delta last year, marking the country's first major privatisation under its European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout.

The voluntary redundancy programme will run from June 30 to July 15 for about 656 people, union leader Christos Kakouratos told Reuters. OPAP's staff totals about 900 people.

Since taking over in October, the new management has said it will go ahead with plans to launch a video lotto business in the country as well as to cut distribution and staff costs.

OPAP, which offers sports betting and lotteries through about 5,000 agents in Greece and Cyprus, had revenues of 3.7 billion euros ($5.05 billion) last year. Staff costs accounted for about 1.5 percent of that amount.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Karolina Tagaris and Jane Merriman)

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