ECONOMY

Hyatt Regency unveils plans for overhauling Greece’s first casino

Casino and hotel group Hyatt Regency intends to raise its 49 percent interest in the Parnitha Greek Casino (EKP) if the government decides to sell part of its majority stake, Managing Director Georgios Galanakis said yesterday. Presenting plans for a reconstruction of the casino and hotel complex overlooking Athens, Galanakis said Hyatt has a right of first refusal in such a case and intends to exercise the option. An alternative plan for Hyatt to gain majority control would be a listing of EKP on the Athens bourse, accompanied by a share capital increase. The reconstruction plan involves a 110-million-euro investment, in two phases. The first, budgeted at 19 million euros, will include the modernization of the cable car facility and construction of an underground parking facility, projected for completion in early 2006 at the latest. The second phase concerns the modernization and complete overhaul of the existing casino and hotel complex, projected for the end of 2007. Galanakis said the project will fully respect the aesthetics of the original 1959 edifice (which differs from the present one due to later additions). Ewen Thompson, the architect in charge of the study, said the project has been planned according to the strictest standards for the protection of the surrounding Parnitha National Park. The new complex will have one less story than the present one. Deputy Tourism Minister Anastassios Liaskos, who attended the presentation, said the project will upgrade tourism in the broader Attica region, and was in line with the government’s earnest drive to bolster investment through incentives and cutting red tape.