ECONOMY

Emma Delta to tap bond market for OPAP purchase funds

Czech-Greek fund Emma Delta, the buyer of a majority stake in Greece’s gambling monopoly OPAP, is looking to tap bond markets to fund part of the 652-million-euro purchase, sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.

Emma Delta, an equity fund controlled by Czech investor Jiri Smejc and Greek businessman Giorgos Melissanidis, agreed in May to buy the 33 percent OPAP stake from the Greek government, one of Europe’s biggest listed betting firms.

The transaction, which has not been completed yet, is cash-strapped Greece’s first major privatization and is an important step in meeting a 1.6-billion-euro proceeds target for 2013 under the terms of its international bailout.

Emma Delta could use its own money to pay the entire amount, but is considering raising between 250 and 350 million euros through a bond to improve its equity return, one of the sources said.

“Emma Delta has the full equity to complete the transaction,” said an official close to the matter on condition of anonymity.

“Nevertheless, it is exploring potential financing to take advantage of an attractive market for issuers.”

An official at Emma Delta declined to comment on the matter but said the fund was “very eager for the transaction to close and to start managing the company.”

[Reuters]