Although the OPAP sale is delayed, the cash-strapped country still desperately needs the funds to fill empty state coffers. A privatization official revealed that state lottery will be sold off this year. The national lottery operating in full compliance with Greek gambling laws will be sold via tender and is expected to raise as much as EUR 1.7 billion.
Costas Mitropoulos, CEO of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRAF), told Greece gambling news: “Next week we will announce a public tender for the state lottery. Then, more announcements will follow at about two-week intervals.”
He went on to add: “We will invite expressions of interest for the Hellenikon airport redevelopment, followed by the DEPA-DESFA gas company privatisation tender and the sale of real estate, which will be contingent on market conditions.”
The Greek government is tied by the terms of EU and IMF bailout loans to raise EUR 50 billion by the year 2015 from privatization of state assets and decreasing government costs. Initially the sale of 34 percent stake in OPAP was scheduled for Q4 2011. The reasons behind the delay still remain a mystery.
So far privatization deals in 2011 raised EUR 392 million from the sale of 10 percent stake in OTE to Deutsche Telekom. The Greek government hopes to raise another EUR 849 million by the end of this year by extending OPAP gaming licenses including those for operation of online casinos in Greece.
Mitropoulos also revealed that there are five other asset deals planned for this year including the sale of four Airbus aircraft. He said: “Proceeds from each of these projects are expected to be multiple hundreds of millions of euros. I refrain from stating specific prices because this could affect the behavior of markets.”
He added: “Possibly by the end of the year we will tender the horse-racing and betting organization ODIE. The telecoms regulator is in the process of renewing mobile telephony licenses and selling additional spectrum for new products. Hopefully this will be done by November. We will also sell some small state shareholdings in banks.”