Intralot Says Full-Year Profit to Match EU115 Million

Intralot SA, the world's third-biggest gaming services company, expects full-year profit to be in line with forecasts of about 115 million euros ($163 million) as the company incorporates the costs of new business.

Net income will be in the range previously announced while sales will be about 880 million euros, Chief Executive Officer Constantine Antonopoulos said in an interview in London today.

``If we didn't have these new projects we would increase the forecasts,'' said Antonopoulos. ``We don't because the start-up costs are within the year.''

The Athens-based company, which manages and operates betting games, has won business in countries such as South Korea and Russia this year after expanding outside its home market of Greece. In July, it was part of a group which won a five-year license to run lottery games in South Korea. In August, Intralot was chosen by a unit of Russian natural-gas exporter OAO Gazprom to develop and run a Russian national lottery.

Intralot shares gained 14 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 28.50 euros, for a market value of 2.2 billion euros. The stock has gained 14 percent in the past three months as it gains new orders and overcomes problems with existing contracts.

South Africa Contract

Last week, South Africa's government granted a license to Intralot to run the country's national lottery after suspending the contract for a judicial review in March. Another order, in Turkey, has had similar problems.

Intralot and partner Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS signed an interim agreement on sports betting, which runs until March 2008, after a prior accord was invalidated and while Turkey holds a new tender for the deal. Turkish betting accounts for nearly a quarter of the company's profits.

Antonopoulos said he was confident the company would retain its Turkish business beyond that date. ``We're optimistic for the new contract because we are the incumbent,'' he said.

Intralot has used its experience in running one of the world's largest sports-betting games for Opap SA, the Greek betting monopoly, to gain contracts in countries where governments are opening up gambling markets to competition. The company is vying for contracts in the state of Victoria, Australia, and in Spain.

Antonopoulos said Intralot is keenly interested in the U.S., where a number of states are considering selling their lottery businesses to the private sector. The company has said it may team with equity funds to win large-scale contracts in U.S. states. In July, it won a contract to operate a lottery in New Mexico, its fourth pact in the U.S.

``When we do something for one U.S. state, we have another 45 possible clients,'' Antonopoulos said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Petrakis in Athens at mpetrakis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at lklemming@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.