ECONOMY

OPAP raises its hand for Turkish lottery

OPAP, Europe’s biggest listed gambling company, will bid in a joint venture today for the right to run Turkey’s national lottery for 10 years. «We really want the Turkish lottery at the right price,» Chief Executive Officer Christos Hadjiemmanuil told shareholders yesterday, according to Bloomberg. «We don’t want it for the wrong price,» he added. OPAP will bid for the license to run the Milli Piyango Idaresi lottery with a group of Turkish companies including Dogus Holding and Alarko Holding. The other offer came from a joint venture of Turkey’s biggest mobile phone company, Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri, and Tepe Group. Turkey’s government is reportedly keen to push ahead with its privatization program including the National Lottery, highways and bridges, and sugar factories this year despite reduced demand from investors due to the global crisis. OPAP, with sales of 5.5 billion euros in 2008, is seeking to make acquisitions outside Greece as European Union regulators threaten to end the company’s domestic monopoly on sports betting and lotteries. Shares in OPAP, which has a market capitalization of 7.6 billion euros, added 0.93 percent yesterday to 23.90 euros, pushing gains in the last month to 25 percent. The Athens bourse’s broader market advanced 1.42 percent.