BUSINESS

Transforming OPAP buys top-up firm

OPAP, Europe’s second-largest gambling firm, announced Thursday that it was proceeding with a 90 percent acquisition of Payzone Hellas SA, the biggest mobile phone top-up network in Greece with over 11,000 POS terminals installed, for 7.75 million euros.

This latest move by the recently privatized corporate group comes a day after it reported a bigger-than-expected rise in second-quarter core profit, boosted by the World Cup and cost-cutting measures being implemented by the new board.

OPAP is seeking to reduce its sales dependence at traditional betting outlets.

The Payzone Hellas mobile phone top-up network, represented throughout the country at outlets such as kiosks and minimarkets, is expected to also be used for adding credit to OPAP gambling cards, used for online betting. The cards will also be used for soon-to-be-installed VLTs, gaming machines that allow gamblers to bet on the outcome of video games.

In 2013, Payzone Hellas posted total revenues of 274 million euros, while profits reached 400,000 euros. Besides providing services to all telecom companies operating in Greece, Payzone Hellas also offers payment services to firms such as PPC and ELTA. It is a member of the Dublin-based Payzone Group, which also offers payment services in the UK, Ireland and Romania.

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