August 29, 2014 / 7:16 PM / in 3 years

UPDATE 1-OPAP to offer at least 40 mln euros for Greek horse race betting licence

* OPAP teams up with British fund manager to bid for 20-year licence

* Privatisation agency scraps tender on Wednesday, relaunches it on Friday

* Calls potential investors to submit bids by Sept. 19 (Adds privatisation agency relaunching tender)

By Angeliki Koutantou

ATHENS, Aug 29 (Reuters) - 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 tender.

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 on Wednesday, saying an improved offer from sole bidder Intralot was not satisfactory.

OPAP also said in a bourse filing on Friday that 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 HRADF.

Later in the day, HRADF relaunched the tender calling for potential investors to submit their bids by Sept. 19.

The tender is expected to be concluded by the end of September, an HRADF official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The license is evaluated at 15 million euros.

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.

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 investor appetite and regulatory snags. It wants to raise 22 billion euros 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) (Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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