ECONOMY

Two binding offers made for the Mount Parnitha casino

Two consortia of the eight that made it to the second round submitted binding bids for a stake of up to 51 percent and the management of the state-owned casino on Mt Parnitha, a Greek National Tourist Organization (GNTO) spokesman said following yesterday’s expiry of a deadline for the submission of binding offers. Hyatt Regency which operates a casino in Thessaloniki and the construction group Hellenic Technodomiki tabled one of the offers, while the other came from the grouping of Casino Loutraki, Piraeus Bank and a number of businessmen. The two candidates also provided 25-billion-drachma guarantees to back their bids. The State’s decision to launch a tender for the sale of a majority stake in the Parnitha casino, called Mont Parnes, originally attracted 37 consortia, with investors coming from countries as far as South Africa, the Bahamas, Australia and Canada. Eight groups were eventually called upon to submit binding offers. The casino at Parnitha includes two hotels on the premises. Figures released by Hellenic Tourist Properties, the asset management arm of the GNTO, two weeks ago showed a 54-percent increase in casino revenues this year to 24 billion drachmas. It also reported a 37-percent jump in the number of visitors and a 47-percent rise in the number of bets placed. EYSE said a total of 9,590 construction permits for both the private and public sectors were issued in July countrywide, up nearly 20 percent from the previous month. The strong gain pointed to the construction industry as the most dynamic sector of the economy. Strong domestic demand is expected to underpin Greek economic growth this year and next, helping it to ride out the global downturn.