ECONOMY

Lottery selloff set for completion by end-November

The selloff of state lotteries will come before the key privatization of OPAP, a senior official at the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) has told Kathimerini.

The source suggested that the completion of a deal for the lotteries should take place by end-November, while also forecasting that the privatization of gaming company OPAP will be completed in the first quarter of 2013, stressing that the investor to acquire the corporation will have to have a complete picture of its assets.

TAIPED officials stress that the privatization of state lotteries should have been completed by now, but was prevented by political uncertainty earlier this year. However, the delay seems to have turned out well for TAIPED as the macroeconomic environment at the time was far from favorable.

The overwhelming feeling is that it is not at all certain whether there will be three binding offers from participants in the process of interest expression conducted at the start of this year. TAIPED officials refuse to comment on such speculation, but one noted that ?even if that is the case, we would never admit to it, as we do not want interested parties to know how many of those shortlisted will submit a final offer or not.? The same official said that the fund is prepared to complete a tender even if there is only one binding offer, ?as long as the offered price (of the single bid) is satisfactory according to the valuations of the independent bodies appointed by the fund.?

This is exactly what happened in the case of the International Broadcasting Center (IBC), where TAIPED received only one binding offer, by Lamda Development. The price of 81 million euros, which will later reach 113.4 million, was deemed satisfactory and the fund?s board, which authorized the signing of the new concession agreement.

The concession of IBC has created optimism among TAIPED officials for the selloff of the lotteries. Market professionals expect at least one offer to be made by the consortium of OPAP with Lottomatica, Intralot and SG, with the target set at revenues of 500 million euros. Half of that amount would be paid upon the concession of the operating license and the rest within the subsequent 12 years.