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Greece Strikes Deal To Sell OPAP

OPAPAfter long delays, Greece has finally managed to sell a 33 percent stake in the state-run gambling monopoly OPAP to private investors, but only after the government forced them to sweeten the deal with a higher offer on the last day for the bid to be accepted.
Emma Delta, controlled by Czech investor Jiri Smejc and Greek ship owner George Melisanidis, on April 22 submitted the only valid bid for the 33 percent stake and management rights in OPAP, offering 622 million euros ($890.92 million) but after it was rejected they offered 650 million euros ($857.95 million) which was accepted, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras said.
“The first major privatization our country has carried out has been completed successfully,” he said in a statement, adding that the deal would bring many benefits for the country, including much-needed revenues. Greece was being pushed by its creditors to speed the pace of privatization and OPAP is one of the few money-makers for the government, controlling all legal gambling.
Stournaras said that the privatization program would continue “decisively” to help the Greek economy recover from a crushing economic crisis.Greece’s privatization fund, HRADF, had not confirmed the final amount until Stournaras did.

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