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Two candidates for OPAP

18 April 2013 / 14:04:25  GRReporter
3434 reads

The tender for the sale of 33% of Greece’s national lottery OPAP has entered its final stage. Emma Delta and Third Point are the two main rivals competing for part of one of the most profitable public companies in the country. The sale of OPAP is considered an important move by the government and a key step in triggering the privatisation process in the country.

Emma Delta is a subsidiary of Emma Delta Management Ltd with major shareholder (66.7%) the Czech citizen Jiri Smezhk from the investment fund PPF and Dimitris Melisanidis (33.3%). Third Point is an American hedge fund managed by Daniel Loeb, who became famous after making 380 million euro on Greek government bonds when the country flirted with the drachma. Loeb is a major shareholder in the investment firm Dolphin Capital, which operates mainly in the real estate market. According to unconfirmed information, Dolphin Capital is interested in buying the luxury hotel complex Astera Vouliagmenis, which is also among the assets of the Privatisation Agency.

Greek media report that it is possible that Sokratis Kokkalis’ Greek company Intralot, which deals with integrated management systems for gambling and sports betting, may hide behind Third Point. The company has no publicly announced direct connection with the privatisation process and it seems so far that it is focusing on the signing and completion of a new contract connected with the technological system of OPAP.

The most recent evaluation shows that the capitalization of OPAP is 2.1 billion euro. This means that the sale of 33% of the company will bring Greece about 700 million euro. The Management Board of the Privatisation Agency will meet on Friday, 19 April, and it is expected that it will be decided at the meeting which company will become the new owner of one-third of the national lottery. The first round of the auction involved the Chinese investment fund Fosun, BC Partners, TPG and Intralot, which made no financial offer at a later stage.
After Third Point gained almost half a billion from the euro crisis in 2012, now it is turning to investments in companies, in which they expect significant changes (event-driven corporate situations). Third Point Hellenic Recovery Fund has been established for this purpose, which holds in its portfolio only 1.5% of the assets of the old hedge fund with venture capital. The interest in the Greek market is growing with the triggering of the privatisation programme. The assets the country can offer are starting to attract foreign interest.

Meanwhile, asset prices are now substantially lower than in 2010. The assessment of public property this year has decreased to 10 billion euro from 50 billion three years ago.

PPF is a Czech private equity fund, founded in 1991, with investments in banking, real estate, mining and retail. Today, it manages funds worth 14.3 billion euro and operates in countries such as Russia, China, India, etc. In Greece, the fund participates in the tender for the purchase of the natural gas system administrator DESFA along with GEK-TRENA and has a stake in Piraeus.

Tags: EconomyCompaniesOPAPPrivatisationGreece
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