BUSINESS

OPAP profit falls as it preps for Greek asset fire sale

TAGs: greece, Intralot, ODIE, OPAP, Phumelela, PMU

opap-odie-greek-asset-saleGreek betting monopoly OPAP saw profit fall 6% to €505.5m in 2012 as the country’s ongoing economic malaise curbed punters’ desire to gamble. (For all of you who feel your home country’s struggling, consider that a staggering 26.4% of Greece’s workforce was unemployed in December.) Full-year revenue fell 8.9% to €3.97b and earnings fell 8.2% to €673.8m. Total sports betting revenue in 2012 was off 14% to €1.5b, while number games like Kino fell 5.5% to €2.48b.

OPAP is facing a new 30% tax on gross gaming revenue in 2013, which the company expects will decrease the current year’s profits by a whopping 77%. The seven eager suitors vying for the Greek government’s 34% stake in OPAP have until next month to submit their offers. The one-third share sale is expected to net the government around €1b, which will be used to help pay the juice on the several hundred billion Euro bailout package the country received earlier this decade.

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), the Greek body tasked with selling off state assets and anything else not currently nailed down – open to offers on a slightly used Parthenon, billed as a fixer-upper’s dream – has also opened a tender for the exclusive right to offer horserace wagering (online and off) for the next two decades. The pony monopoly was previously held by the Hellenic Horserace Betting Organization (ODIE) but the European Commission objected to the Greek government’s willingness to grant ODIE sweetheart financial aid and decreed the monopoly invalid.

Three companies have reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring the horseracing monopoly: French racing behemoth Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), South Africa’s Phumelela and Greek gaming/lottery tech outfit Intralot. We assume all three are aware that ODIE has seen revenues drop more than a third over the past four years as the Greek economy went south, and as yet there’s no clarity as to whether horseracing will be saddled with with the same 30% GGR tax that OPAP now faces. Regardless, all interested parties must make themselves known by April 12, after which HRADF will require each party to submit binding financial offers.

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