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Opap Third-Quarter Profit Drops 16% as Greeks Curb Gambling

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Opap SA, Europe’s biggest listed gambling company, said third-quarter profit fell 16 percent as Greeks spent less on betting amid austerity measures including cuts to wages and pensions.

Net income dropped to 135.4 million euros (182.3 million) from 161.2 million euros for the three month period through Sept. 30, according to an Athens bourse filing today. That compared with a 138.8 million-euro average estimate of four analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, we achieved healthy margins by further containing costs, increasing our market share and improving our operational efficiency,” Ioannis Spanoudakis said in the statement. Distribution costs declined 31 percent in the period as the company spent less on advertising and sponsorships while administrative expenses fell by almost 8 percent on lower staff costs.

Revenue fell more than 11 percent to 1 billion euros, matching analysts’ estimates. Sales of fixed-odds sports betting game Pame Stihima declined more than 20 percent to 346.2 million euros while for Kino, the company’s biggest numbers game, they dropped more than 14 percent to 516.3 million euros.

The company also said fewer people visited its agencies in the three-month period this year compared to 2010 when the soccer World Cup was held.

To contact the reporters on this story: Paul Tugwell in Athens at ptugwell1@bloomberg.net; Tom Stoukas in Athens at astoukas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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