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OPAP to offer 40 mln euros or more for Greek horse race betting license

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 (190.36 billion pound) bailout.

Privatization agency HRADF scrapped the tender this week, saying an improved offer from sole bidder Intralot was not satisfactory and the tender would be relaunched immediately.

OPAP said in a bourse filing 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 HDRAF.

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.

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

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 investors' appetite and regulatory snags. It wants to raise 22 billion euros from selloffs by 2020 and aims at 1.5 billion from state divestments this year, down from an initial 3.6 billion euro target.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Friday August 29, 2014 (14:14)  
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