ECONOMY

Greece gives OPAP suitor more time to raise bid [Update]

Greece’s privatization agency has given Greek-Czech fund Emma Delta more time to improve its bid for a controlling stake in gaming firm OPAP, two officials directly involved in the sale talks told Reuters on Thursday.

“They asked for and were given a postponement until Wednesday, May 1,» said one official at Greece’s privatization agency, who declined to be named, after a first deadline expired. An official at Emma Delta confirmed the move.

Emma Delta, controlled by Czech investor Jiri Smejc and Greek shipowner George Melisanidis on Monday offered 622 million euros ($808 million) for 33 percent of Greek gambling monopoly OPAP and management rights at the company.

Emma Delta submitted the only valid bid in the sale, Greece’s first big privatization under its international bailout program.

But privatization agency HRADF asked the fund to raise its offer to at least 650 million euros, the stake’s minimum value as estimated by an external assessor.

Deutsche Bank and National Bank, Greece’s main sale advisers, had put the stake’s value at 610 million.

OPAP shares were up 0.3 percent to 6.9 euros in early trading in Athens, giving a 33 percent stake in the company a stock market value of 726 million euros. [Reuters]