Stournaras confirms sale of 33% stake in OPAP to Emma Delta, hails first major privatization

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Greece had struck a deal with a private investor to sell 33 percent of state gambling firm OPAP.

“The first major privatization our country has carried out has been completed successfully,» said Stournaras in a statement.

The finance minister said the deal would have «multiple» benefits for Greece as it confirms there investors are interested in Greek assets and would bring much-needed revenues for the government.

He said that privatization program would continue «decisively» in order to help the Greek economy and lead the country out of the crisis.

Greece’s privatization fund, HRADF, had not confirmed the final amount offered by private consortium Emma Delta but reports suggested that the investors had increased their bid to 652 million euros.

Emma Delta, controlled by Czech investor Jiri Smejc and Greek ship owner George Melisanidis, on April 22 submitted the only valid bid for the 33 percent stake and management rights in OPAP, offering 622 million euros.

Privatisation agency HRADF initially gave the fund 48 hours to raise its bid to at least 650 million euros, but the agency then extended the deadline to May 1, on the fund’s request.

OPAP was Greece’s most profitable company last year, with net income of 505.5 million euros and a return on equity of 49.2 percent.