ECONOMY

The smart money is on Parnitha casino as 37 non-binding bids are submitted

Thirty-seven consortia and companies submitted non-binding bids for the casino at Parnitha which includes two hotels on the premises, Hellenic Tourist Properties (ETA), the asset management arm of the Greek National Tourist Organization, said yesterday. Under the tender, which was launched in early August and expired last Friday, the government is offering the sale of 19.9 percent to 51 percent in the state-controlled complex. ETA said it would evaluate the offers before proceeding to the next stage where qualified candidates would be required to submit binding bids together with their business plans. The tender will be announced before September 23. Of the group of 37, nine companies said they have an operating license for a casino, eight said they have the relevant experience and 10 stressed their willingness to cooperate with casino licence holders, ETA said in a statement yesterday. One of the tender requirements was that applicant companies should possess a casino license in another country and experience in the field. The tender attracted investors from countries as far as South Africa, the Bahamas, Australia and Canada while a number of Greek companies linked up with foreign investors to boost their bids. Local privately owned casinos also showed interest. The companies which submitted non-binding bids are: South Africa’s Global Resort SA (GRSA); Visvis Gaming Associates of the USA; Cypriot company Glory Worldwide Holdings; Swiss Casinos Services; the Mandalay Resort Group from the US; Bahamas-based Nu Oasis International; XNC Trust of the Bahamas; US law firm Fidelity Corporation; the Swiss-Dutch consortium of Sun International Management and Royal Resorts; Barak Seifer, an Israeli law firm; French company Accor Casinos; Canada’s Donald Robinson Casino Consultant; the French-Greek group of Groupe Partouche, Damco Energy and Technoinvest; Greek construction company Technical Olympic; Greek firm Delfi Consultants; Casino Rio (Theros International Gaming Inc.); Compagnie Financiere Régionale from France; the grouping of Las Vegas Sands Venetian Venture Development, Club Hotel Casino Loutraki and Piraeus Bank; the consortium of Sun International, Stan Fulton and Greek construction company GEK; France’s Europeene de Casinos; Setarcos from Canada; the local Porto Carras Casino; the Aegean Casino; Greek construction company CIS Sarantopoulos; London Clubs International; Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide; Hyatt Regency with Hellenic Technodomiki; Australia’s TabCorp Holdings Ltd. with EC Business & Innovation Center of Attica; Investments Development Consultants LLC from the US; Switzerland’s K&P Treuhand; Greek real estate developers F. Vryonis; Universal Casino Consultants from the UK; the UK’s Aspinalls Club; UK company Acepoker International; Comexport Ltd. from Switzerland; Greek firm Pacific; and local company Hercules. ETA said last week that both the state-owned casinos at Parnitha and Corfu reported growth in both customers and profits for the first eight months of the year. The two facilities are expected to see combined turnover exceeding 26 billion drachmas and pretax profits above 6 billion drachmas this year. The national economy and finance ministries pledge to privatize, or find strategic partners for, a host of public enterprises. Up for privatization are the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA), Hellenic Shipyards, Olympic Airways, Hellenic Petroleum and the Parnitha Casino. Marinas around Attica and state betting and lottery organization OPAP will be turned over to private management. Strategic partners will be sought for the Agricultural Bank, OTE telecom, the Athens Water Company (EYDAP), Hellenic Stock Exchanges, the natural gas company DEPA, the Postal Savings Bank, Hellenic Tourism Real Estate, the Athens and Thessaloniki central markets and the state saltworks company.