ECONOMY

Punters pleased with OPAP

Shares in betting company OPAP soared nearly 9 percent on the Athens bourse yesterday after the company reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. OPAP shares jumped 8.71 percent after Monday’s 5.25 percent slide to end at 16.48 euros. The broader market advanced 1.83 percent. After the close of trade on Monday, OPAP said fourth-quarter net profits fell 48.5 percent to 92.1 million euros, beating expectations for a figure of 72 million euros. Brokers said that a larger contribution from the higher margin games, such as Kino and Joker, and cost containment measures contributed to the strong figure. «We believe that OPAP is a good value story,» said Piraeus Securities in a note to investors. The brokerage reiterated its «outperform» rating on the stock, whose target price is 19 euros. OPAP said it will propose a higher-than-expected dividend for 2009 of 1.75 euros per share, translating into a dividend yield of 10.6 percent.