OPAP may miss goals due to taxes

Shares in gambling company OPAP tumbled more than 6 percent yesterday after the company said it may miss its full-year profit target due to new taxes imposed on games. Shares in OPAP fell 6.57 percent on the Athens bourse to 16.35 euros, versus a 0.74 percent advance on the broader market. «Our objective for the year is to defend last year’s profitability,» OPAP Chief Executive Officer Christos Hadjiemmanuil told Bloomberg in an interview. «I am not 100 percent confident that we can do it.» OPAP’s shares have slid 20 percent since Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said last month that bets and lotteries would be subject to a 10 percent tax on winnings, removing a tax-free threshold that existed previously and increasing the levy. Hadjiemmanuil said he can’t yet quantify the impact of the tax on the company. «It is very difficult to make a realistic and accurate assumption,» he said. «We would be able to absorb fully the tax impact but this would destroy profitability. Definitely some sort of adjustment on our part will be necessary,» Hadjiemmanuil added in the interview. Meanwhile, BNP Paribas cuts its target price on OPAP yesterday to 14 euros from 17 euros previously, according to a Reuters report.