ECONOMY

Losing group offers new casino bid

Casino Attica, the consortium of the Loutraki casino and Piraeus Bank which lost out to Hyatt Regency and construction firm Hellenic Technodomiki for a 49-percent stake in the Mont Parnes casino early this month, yesterday raised the stakes in the bidding game with a higher offer of 162 million euros. Hyatt Regency, operator of a casino in Thessaloniki, and Hellenic Technodomiki, were declared the preliminary winners by ETA, the asset management arm of the Greek National Tourist Organization, with its offer of 92.1 million euros. ETA had set a minimum starting bid of 80 million euros. Casino Attica was excluded from the contest following the second round after the competition committee accepted the Hyatt-led consortium’s charge that the rival group had breached the rules by withdrawing from the contest and subsequently submitting another offer. The losing consortium subsequently called for a rerun of the privatization process, claiming that the contest had been dogged by irregularities. It said it was willing to raise its previous bid of 91.1 million euros to above 100 million euros. It also warned of possible legal action. The government, however, has said it prefers to negotiate with the declared winner in the hope that the group would increase its offer. Casino Attica yesterday delivered its new, 162-million-euro bid to ETA and also informed the Finance and development ministries of the new offer. Thalis Koutoupis, a representative for the consortium, told Kathimerini English Edition that the latest bid is intended to «wake people up to the violations perpetrated during the contest.» He also reiterated the consortium’s call for a rerun of the bidding process. He said ETA should focus on the higher offer and the benefits to the state coffer. The successful bidder for the Mont Parnes casino, which includes two hotels in the complex, has an option to acquire an additional 2-percent share following the completion of the investment program. The ministerial committee on privatization will have to approve the winning bidder before the agreement is tabled in Parliament.