OPAP Q2 net seen up

Greek gaming monopoly OPAP is expected to report a 10.4 percent rise in second-quarter net profits, held back by slower sales from its fixed-odds betting business and one-off costs, analysts said yesterday. Nine analysts polled by Reuters forecast, on average, group net profits of 116.46 million euros, up from -105.5 million in the same period a year earlier. Group sales are seen as down 3 percent at 1.2 billion euros, as revenues from the firm’s flagship sports betting game Pame Stoichima are expected to have dropped 21 percent year-on-year, compared to a strong second-quarter in 2006. Strong betting activity during the World Soccer Cup in the same period last year boosted Pame Stoichima sales by about -300 million. Revenues from OPAP’s second-biggest game Kino are seen as rising 27 percent to 540.26 million euros after the firm extended the game’s playing hours late last year and leased more terminals for the lottery. A one-off cost OPAP will book for an IT deal it has signed with Greek lottery systems provider Intralot is also expected to weigh on second-quarter results. Intralot managed Pame Stoichima until late in January of this year when OPAP took the game in-house in a bid to save costs. Last year, the provider signed a 65-million-euro six-month deal with OPAP to help with the transition and analysts said the gaming group was likely to incur up to 38 million euros for that expense in the second quarter. OPAP shares trade at about 14 times 2007 estimated earnings, compared with about 12 times for British bookmaker Ladbrokes and 13 for William Hill, according to Reuters Estimates. (Reuters)