Opap SA fell after Greece’s state asset sales fund accepted a revised offer from Emma Delta, the only group to submit a valid binding bid for a 33 percent stake in Europe’s largest listed gambling company.
Opap dropped 4.3 percent to 7.17 euros at 12:20 a.m. in Athens after falling as much as 6.4 percent earlier. The stock rose 8.9 percent on April 30, before yesterday’s market holiday. Opap shares have added 33 percent since the start of the year, giving it a market value of 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion).
Greece’s state asset sales fund, known as HRADF, yesterday accepted Emma Delta’s revised offer of 652 million euros, which compared with an initial bid of 622 million euros. The fund on April 22 asked Emma Delta to raise its bid.
Emma Delta is a variable equity fund controlled by Jiri Smejc and George Melissanidis, according to a statement late yesterday. Investors include Czech Republic-based Emma Group and Russia’s ICT Group.
The fund is committed to improving Opap’s performance and will invest substantially in the company, Emma Delta said.
“The disposal of the state’s 33 percent stake is transformational for Opap’s investment case due to the long-term benefits it entails,” Athens-based Eurobank Equities wrote in a note to investors today. The benefits include less state intervention, rejuvenation of games such as Stihima and more active pressure on the government to curb illegal gambling, Eurobank said.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s government has pledged to speed up state asset sales, a key plank in cutting the country’s debt. Proceeds from the sale of the Opap stake as well as natural gas company Depa SA and grid operator Desfa SA will make up the bulk of 2.3 billion euros Greece needs to raise from asset sales this year, HRADF Chief Executive Officer Ioannis Emiris told Bloomberg in an interview.
“Successful conclusion of Opap’s privatization will send a strong message to local and foreign investors that the Greek government is determined to implement the asset sales program agreed with its creditors, thus further improving investor sentiment for the Greek economy,” Dimitris Birbos, an analyst at Athens-based IBG Research, wrote in a note to clients today.