OPAP’s core earnings drop in fourth quarter


Greece’s OPAP, Europe’s fourth-biggest betting firm, on Wednesday posted a 19.2 percent drop in fourth-quarter core profit, hurt by an austerity tax.

OPAP, which was fully privatized in 2013, currently offers sports betting and lotteries through a network of about 5,750 outlets in Greece and Cyprus.

Profitability has been hit by a retroactive tax hike on gaming revenue that OPAP has generated since the start of last year.

Greece raised taxation on OPAP’s revenue by 5 percentage points to 35 percent as part of an international bailout, the third since 2010.

Core profit – earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) – dropped to 83.7 million euros from 103.6 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Net profit rose 6.7 percent to 55.1 million euros, helped by the absence of a one-off impairment that was booked in the last quarter of 2015. OPAP will pay a dividend of 0.72 euro a share, up from 0.40 euro on 2015 results.

Gross gaming revenue dropped 0.5 percent to 399.6 million euros, mainly due a weaker performance of its lottery business.