Intralot to exceed 2006 profit targets, has eye on further expansion

Intralot, the world’s second-largest lottery systems supplier, will exceed its previous guidance for 2006 pretax profit and sales, its chief executive said yesterday. «We will overshoot the guidance we have given,» Intralot CEO Constantinos Antonopoulos said at a company presentation to institutional investors. Intralot, which is also the world’s largest sports betting operator, has targeted pretax profits of -220 million and sales of -700 million for 2006. It reported a pretax profit of -172.5 million, up 48.4 percent, in the first nine months last year, with sales up 71.7 percent to -572.8 million as it boosted its presence outside Greece. The firm, which manages sports betting to the tune of about -4.5 billion in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Malta, recently won sports betting and horse-racing licences in Italy as a part of its strategy to cash in on the burgeoning liberalization of gambling markets. It has said it is also looking to further expand in Latin America and the USA and enter China, Korea and Vietnam. On the sidelines of the presentation, Antonopoulos declined to comment on whether the firm would bid for the UK’s state lottery or if it was interested in the USA’s Illinois and Indiana state lotteries. Greek media reported last week that Intralot had expressed initial interest in the privatization of Indiana’s state lottery and was also interested in bidding for the Illinois state lottery which is also expected to go up for sale. Antonopoulos said Texas, New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kansas have expressed the intent to privatize their lotteries, estimated to be worth a total of about 6.7 billion euros. (Reuters)