ATHENS Aug 29 Greece's OPAP, one of
Europe's biggest betting firms, has teamed up with a British
fund manager to bid for the country's horse race betting
licence, days after the privatisation agency scrapped a previous
Greece is selling a 20-year licence to take wagers on horse
races as part of a privatisation plan agreed with Athens'
international lenders, the European Union and the International
Monetary Fund, under a 240 billion euro ($316 billion) bailout.
Privatisation agency HRADF scrapped the tender this week,
saying an improved offer from sole bidder Intralot was
not satisfactory and the tender would be relaunched immediately.
OPAP said in a bourse filing its joint bid with Global
Family Partners would be no less than 40 million euros ($52.7
million), well above the 5.2 million initially offered by
Intralot. The amount of Intralot's improved offer was not
disclosed by HDRAF.
OPAP, which was privatised last year, holds a monopoly in
lotteries and sports betting in the crisis-hit country through
about 5,000 outlets. It posted a 50 percent rise in first-half
core profit on Wednesday.
The tender is expected to be concluded by the end of
September, an HDRAF official told Reuters on condition of
anonymity. The license is evaluated at 15 million euros.
Horse race betting is currently run by a group called ODIE,
which had a net loss of 23.4 million euros in 2012.
Greece has repeatedly missed its privatisation targets due
to a lack of investors' appetite and regulatory snags. It wants
to raise 22 billion euros from selloffs by 2020 and aims at 1.5
billion from state divestments this year, down from an initial
3.6 billion euro target.
(1 US dollar = 0.7594 euro)
(Editing by David Holmes)