ECONOMY

Intralot takes 49-percent stake in Bulgarian soccer bookmaker

Gaming software maker Intralot announced yesterday it had acquired 49 percent of Bulgarian soccer bookmaker Eurofootball for 11.75 million euros ($10.2 million) to expand further into the Balkan betting market. Intralot develops software and supports online networks for games of chance in Europe and Latin America and has said it plans to expand in both regions. In the Balkans, it is already active in Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia and Moldova. «The acquisition of the Bulgarian company is part of Intralot’s strategic goal, which foresees expanding betting in the promising Balkan market,» Intralot said, adding that the deal included an option for an additional 2 percent stake. In Sofia, Eurofootball said Intralot also had pledged a 30 million levs ($13.4 million) investment. «The acquisition contract has been signed today and is in line with Eurofootball’s plans to expand its activities in the country,» a Eurofootball press official said. Bulgaria’s private Nove Holding owns 51 percent of Eurofootball, which was set up eight years ago. The remainder is held by private companies and individuals. Intralot’s investment plans include installing new software at Eurofootball’s 500 bookmaking houses, developing new gambling games and products and implementing joint projects outside Bulgaria, the official said. Last month Intralot clinched a 10-year contract to organize games of chance for Peru’s state lottery. It also has a seven-year contract with Chile’s state lottery. An affiliated company of telecoms equipment maker Intracom, Intralot reported consolidated sales of 202 million euros in the nine months to September 2000 with pretax profits at 50.4 million euros. Intralot shed 1.06 percent to 18.58 euros on the Athens bourse yesterday. It announced the acquisition after the market closed.(Reuters) «The conclusion is that you must prove that you have a good reputation,» says Constantinidis. «The project showed that a relatively high percentage of people adopt a guarded attitude towards firms. Greek companies are given considerably different ratings by consumers, foreign investors and stakeholder groups.»