June 10, 2020 / 3:48 PM / a month ago

OPAP first-quarter profit hit by COVID-19 lockdown

ATHENS, June 10 (Reuters) - OPAP, Europe’s fourth-biggest betting business, reported a 38% drop in first-quarter profit on Wednesday due to the closure of outlets during the coronavirus lockdown in Greece and Cyprus.

Net profit in the January to March period stood at 35.5 million euros ($40.3 million), down from 57.2 million in the same period a year before.

Gross gaming revenue was down 17% at 328 million euros, since OPAP was forced to close around 4,000 outlets for about two months from March under a government-imposed lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

OPAP had been reviewing payments to shareholders on 2019 profit because of the trading situation.

The company said on Wednesday it will propose a dividend of 0.30 euro per share at a shareholders’ meeting later in June, on top of 1 euro a share it paid in February.

OPAP has resumed most of its operations since May 11 and the company was seeing signs of “gradual recovery” across its portfolio, it said.

The Greek company concluded the roll-out of 25,000 video lottery terminals in Greece in December. It holds an exclusive licence for the business, which expires in 2035 and is seen as a catalyst for future growth. ($1 = 0.8813 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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