ECONOMY

OPAP issues new tender

OPAP, Europe’s second-biggest gaming company, said yesterday it had launched a new invitation to tender for an upgrade to its electronic terminals, which is expected to remove bottlenecks in its network. «OPAP announces the invitation of public tenders with sealed bids to find the company to supply, install and maintain technical equipment, centers and terminals, as well as the relevant support and services,» OPAP said in press advertisements. The company said interested parties had until midday on January 4, 2006, to submit their offers. Analysts expect the technical infrastructure upgrade to help resolve problems relating to bottlenecks in its terminal network at about 5,540 betting outlets in Greece and Cyprus, following the rollout of its Kino lottery game, which started in the latter part of 2003. «The fact that the tender is proceeding normally after a significant delay is positive for the group, as it will help deal with bottlenecks at its betting outlets. The essence, however, is when the company will receive the terminals,» said Alpha Finance analyst Dimitris Giannoulis. OPAP has said that the technical upgrade could be completed in the first quarter of 2007 and the budget for it would amount to about 195 million euros, although it recently said the budget would depend on the offers from prospective suppliers. «I expect that the divergence from the project’s budget of 195 million euros originally announced will not be significant and will not impact a big company like OPAP, whose cash flow is expected to reach 400 million euros this year,» Giannoulis added. OPAP Managing Director Vassilis Neiadas said in August that Intralot and four foreign companies – GTech, Scientific Games, EssNet and Lottomatica – were likely to take part in the tendering. GTech Holdings Corp. is the world’s largest lottery systems operator. Scientific Games is a US lottery services company, while Italian lottery operator Lottomatica earlier this summer expressed interest in Turkey’s privatization of its state lottery. EssNet is a Swedish lottery system operator. OPAP, 34.5 percent-owned by the state, has exclusive rights to organize betting and numerical games in Greece until 2020. (Reuters)