ECONOMY

Government wins as casinos rake in takings

The state-owned casinos on Parnitha and Corfu are expected to enrich the state coffers by an estimated 15 billion drachmas this year, Hellenic Tourist Properties (ETA) said yesterday. The optimistic projection came after the casinos released eight-month results showing growth in both customers and profits. Tickets issued by both casinos in the January-August period increased by 35 percent to 310,000 from 230,000 in the same period last year, ETA, the asset management arm of the Greek National Tourist Organization (EOT), said in a statement. Bets were up by 49 percent to 63 billion drachmas while gross profits from gaming activities soared by 53 percent to 16.8 billion drachmas. Based on the eight-month figures, the two casinos are expected to record more than 26 billion drachmas in turnover this year against 17 billion drachmas in 2000. Pretax profits are projected to exceed 6 billion drachmas. Royalties accruing to EOT are estimated at 9 billion drachmas. The State in turn should see a massive jump in revenues to 15 billion drachmas, double the 7.5-billion drachmas received last year. The two casinos currently hold an 18-percent share of the market, up from 11 percent in 2000. Takings for casinos and state are expected to increase once the facilities are privatized, ETA said. An international tender for non-binding expressions of interest in the Parnitha Casino launched last month is due to expire today. The State is offering a stake of 19.9-51 percent in the casino which also includes two hotels on the premises. Investors can acquire a stake via a share purchase or capital increase. Reporting on the tender for expressions of interest in setting up a conference centre at the Hellenikon Airport, ETA said that 18 consortia had submitted applications. The interested include major local construction companies, both local and foreign exhibition specialists and real estate developers. The applicants are: Sasaki Associates Inc; M. Konstantinidis, president of KEM; the consortium of Libra Holidays Group, Cybarco Ltd, Display Art ltd, Options Cassoulides Ltd, Promo Solution EPE and Ekthesis CMD Ltd; the grouping of BIDC, Top Plan, Ellerbe Becket Ltd, Michaniki, Pennell Kerr Forster, Earls Court & Olympia, SFX Europe, Davis Langdon, Everest, and the law firm of Kyriakides & Giorgopoulos; the consortium of Technical Olympiaki, Mochlos, Porto Carras and Engle Homes; a group headed by London Exhibition Center Ltd; the J&P Development, Avax, J&P Hellas Ate, ETETH, General Lacation, Secil, Athinaion and Asty grouping; Mamidakis and Theoharakis in a joint bid; the consortium of Diekat, PGI Hellas, Stelios Agiostratitis & Associates; the grouping of Tegea, Ellinovalkaniki, Gantzoulas, KEA, McDonald’s Hellas, Global View, Salfo & Associates, Donomis Shipping & Cruises Services, Aria Gefseon, Grafio 75, Comet Meletitiki and Triedros Meletitiki; Aegek, Vioter, Ekter, N. Haragkionis; ExpoCenters Group WS Atkins International Ltd; consortium candidates K.I. Sarantopoulos, Amfitrion Diakopes, Ilias Maniateas Publishing Company; a group currently being set up consisting of Attikat, Agricultural Bank, the Federation of Greek Professional Exhibition and Seminar Organizers, the Federation of Greek Professional Exhibition Organizers, and Hatta; the Everest group; Thessaloniki Trade Fair; Lamda Development, Gek-Terna, Hermes; and lastly RTKL UK Ltd. A committee headed by EOT head Evgenios Yiannakopoulos is due to review the bids before calling for binding offers.