ECONOMY

OPAP bet proves worthy

Europe’s biggest gaming company, OPAP, reported a 13.2 percent rise in nine-month net profit yesterday that was at the high end of expectations, thanks to a recovery in its flagship Stoichima betting game. Net profit rose to 316.2 million euros from 279.3 million in the first nine months of 2004, after adjusting for a reversal of about 148 million euros in provisions. Third-quarter net profit rose 30.3 percent to 113.4 million euros. A Reuters poll of 11 analysts had forecast on average nine-month net profit of 308.9 million. «We are optimistic about the potential of Stoichima following the approval of three of the four pending regulations for the rejuvenation of the game,» Chief Executive Vassilis Neiadas said in a statement. Stoichima revenues fell by 23.3 percent to 946.6 million euros in the nine-month period, compared with a 31.8 percent drop in the first half. Revenues from numerical betting game Kino rose by 139 percent to 1.25 billion euros. Nine-month earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 6.5 percent to 484.8 million euros, with sales up 17.7 percent to 2.6 billion euros. (Reuters)