OPAP, PPC stock up for sale

Greece is planning to rev up its stalled privatization program next month with a third offering of lottery and soccer pool company OPAP’s equity, to be followed by the sale of a third tranche of Public Power Corporation (PPC) stock later in the year. «A tranche of OPAP shares will be sold on the Athens Stock Exchange in June and PPC equity subsequently, which should raise a total of 1.2 billion euros to 1.3 billion euros,» Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Floridis told reporters yesterday. The government’s target of raising 2.99 billion euros from the sale of state-owned enterprises this year suffered two serious setbacks earlier in the year after it failed to find buyers for debt-burdened flag carrier Olympic Airways and a 23 percent stake in oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum. Despite the two disappointments, the government is not thinking of revising the projected privatization revenues, Floridis told Kathimerini English Edition. The divestment program raised 1.93 billion euros for state coffers last year, equivalent to 1.4 percent of GDP. This year’s targeted proceeds of 2.99 billion euros is estimated to amount to 2 percent of national output. The State currently holds a 75.7 percent stake in OPAP, of which it is expected to float up to 25 percent. Last month, the government hired Salomon Smith Barney and Credit Suisse First Boston to handle the offering. Sales in the first quarter are projected to increase by more than 30 percent, OPAP said in a stock exchange filing yesterday. Results are due out on May 21. The government is expected to sell a further 25 percent of electricity utility PPC. The sale of a 13 percent stake last year raised 357 million euros.