Arab Today, arab today greece begins sale of gaming monopoly opap
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Greece begins sale of gaming monopoly OPAP

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Arab Today, arab today Greece begins sale of gaming monopoly OPAP

Athens - AFP

The Greek privatisation fund on Thursday said it had launched an international tender for the sale of the state's 33-percent stake in the gaming monopoly OPAP. "The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund announces the launch of an international public tender process for the sale of its 33 percent shareholding in the Hellenic Football Prognostics Organisation (OPAP)," the agency said. The tender is to run until October 19. "The complete privatisation of OPAP will be carried out transparently, rapidly, and with efficiency," OPAP chief executive Yiannis Emiris pledged in a statement. The government had earlier planned to sell only 29 percent of the company. Greece is under pressure from its international creditors -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- to offload 19 billion euros ($24.5 billion) in state assets by 2015 in return for bailout loans. Emiris, part of a team appointed by the country's new coalition government, said the privatisation agency "is accelerating the pace of implementation of a comprehensive plan to restart the Greek economy. The program aims to attract new capital investment, create new jobs and open up Greek markets to competition." The previous chief executive had stepped down in the summer, blaming delays on a lack of government support. In its first eleven months of operation, the privatisation fund had managed to conclude four privatisations worth 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion). OPAP is Greece's most profitable state company, clearing a net profit of 126.1 million euros in the first six months of this year. It has a state concession for the exclusive right to operate 13 games of chance until October 2030, and a ten-year license for the operation of 35,000 video lottery terminals. Earlier this month, the government said it would impose a 30-percent levy on the company's mixed gaming profits until 2020, and a five-percent take to 2030.

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