ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek sports betting monopoly OPAP (OPAr.AT) will take over the state lotteries in a 190 million euro ($247 million) deal, the cash-strapped government’s second privatization this year.
OPAP, together with gaming technology partners Intralot (INLr.AT), Lottomatica LTO.MI and Scientific Games (SGMS.O), was the sole bidder for a 12-year license to run lotteries which generated about 60 million euros profit last year.
Greece’s privatization revenues, a key part of the country’s EU/IMF bailout, have been far below original targets, with just 1.7 billon euros raised so far.
The latest agreement came after an 81 million euro deal in September, when the government picked real estate firm Lamda to manage a shopping mall that served as a broadcasting center during the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Ioannis Emiris, head of the privatizations agency, said on Wednesday the OPAP deal was “most satisfactory”, adding it guaranteed “the significant increase of state revenues and the creation of new jobs”.
Greece is scrambling to jump start its privatization agenda to convince lenders it is serious about selling off state assets to pay down public debt.
Last month it lowered its privatization target to about 11 billion euros by 2016, compared with an original target of 19 billion by the end of 2015.
Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Dan Lalor