OPAP sees net profit down two thirds in 2013

Greek betting monopoly OPAP, the jewel in the country’s privatization plan, expects net profit to fall by more than two thirds in 2013, hurt by a new tax.

Debt-laden Greece slapped a 30 percent levy on the company’s gross earnings from January 1 to boost government revenue and meet fiscal targets set in a bailout deal with its international lenders, the European Union and the International Montetary Fund

In a presentation to investors, OPAP said net profit this year is forecast at 116 million euros, down 76.6 percent from an estimated 496 million euros for 2012.

OPAP is due to release its 2012 results on March 7.

The profit estimate sent OPAP’s shares 7.3 percent lower on the Athens bourse.

“OPAP’s estimates for 2013 net profit was unexpectedly negative and noticeably lower than the worst analyst forecast of 135-140 million euros,» said Beta Securities trader Takis Zamanis.

Athens is selling a 33 percent stake in OPAP and seven potential investors, including a Chinese conglomerate and big private equity funds, have so far expressed interest.

In the presentation OPAP also projected gross gaming revenue at 1.2 billion euros this year from 1.3 billion euros estimated for 2012.

OPAP holds the monopoly in sports betting and lotteries until 2020 and 2030 respectively. It also holds an exlusive 10-year licence for video lottery terminals in Greece and a 12-year licence to offer scratch cards in the country.

OPAP expects to pay a dividend of 0.72 euros a share on 2012 earnings, down from 1.54 euros a share it paid in 2011.


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