OPAP’s Kino looking like a sure bet

OPAP, Europe’s biggest betting company, reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings yesterday and said it is ready to explore acquisition opportunities abroad despite the global crisis. Q3 net profit rose 46.2 percent to 163.8 million euros on strongly growing Kino, the company’s biggest numbers game, and cost containment. Analysts were expecting a figure of around -143 million. «We are particularly satisfied with the significant improvement in profit margins, which reflects efforts to rationalize expenses and improve the efficiency of game management,» said OPAP CEO Christos Hadjiemmanuil. Third-quarter revenue rose 4.2 percent year-on-year to 1.2 billion euros as sales from Kino jumped 17 percent. OPAP will distribute an interim dividend of 0.80 euros per share, 33 percent higher than last year’s. «The liquidity we have provides us with the necessary flexibility to examine investment opportunities, beyond Greece,» the CEO added. OPAP is examining the terms for the privatization of Turkey’s national lottery Milli Piyango and has until mid-January to decide whether it will take part in the inital stage of the tender process.