ECONOMY

Only one valid offer in for OPAP

State privatization fund TAIPED is entering negotiations with the Emma Delta investment fund in order to complete the landmark privatization of a 33 percent stake in gaming monopoly OPAP by Thursday.

The two bids for the controlling stake in the betting company that were submitted last week were opened on Monday, with only Emma Delta’s deemed valid, even though its price offer was below that originally expected by TAIPED. As a result the suitor has been asked to improve the price being offered within the next 48 hours.

Kathimerini understands that Emma Delta offered 622 million euros for the 105 million shares that are up for grabs. When added to the dividend for 2012 that the sate will collect, the figure comes to 682 million euros, while the market had expected at least 700 million euros.

The other suitor, Third Point LLC, was considered to have violated the terms of the tender because it set as a condition the ability to sell its stake in OPAP without TAIPED being able to participate in the capital gains. According to sources, the relevant condition of the tender provided that if the strategic investor decided within three years to sell its stake, it would have to pay 50 percent of the capital gains to TAIPED, a term that Third Point reportedly rejected, ruling itself out of the process.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has intervened to prevent the departure of Russian energy giant Gazprom from the tender for the privatization of Public Gas Corporation (DEPA).

TAIPED has accepted all demands set by the Russian firm: extending the deadline for binding offers by 11 days to May 10; abolishing the condition triggering the payment of guarantee should the European Commission set additional terms that force the company to withdraw from bidding; securing the payment of overdue debts to DEPA by private parties amounting to 550 million euros and allowing the deal to be cancelled in the unlikely event that Greece leaves the eurozone.