Greece Prepares to Sell Assets First to Go Horse Betting License

Greece’s privatization agency (HRADF) has invited OPAP (OPAr.AT) to sign a deal next week to acquire the country’s sole license for horse racing betting, the first state asset sale to be completed by the new leftist-led coalition government.

The agency announced in March it would proceed with the sale of the exclusive betting rights to OPAP, the country’s dominant gambling firm, which won the license last year after offering 40 million euros ($43.26 million).

“HRADF…invited the successful bidder, OPAP Ιnvestments Ltd, to sign the concession contract on April 24,” the agency said in a statement on Friday.

Betting on horse racing in Greece had been run by a state-owned group.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Reuters on Thursday that state assets were one of the thorny issues in talks with the EU/IMF creditors assessing whether the cash-strapped country can get further bailout aid.

Privatizations have been a key demand of the country’s international lenders. The election of Tsipras’ government in January on promises to end austerity and block “fire-sales” cast doubt on the future of Greece’s privatizations plan.

Greece has a series of ongoing tenders for the divestment of state assets, including the sale of a 67 percent stake in its biggest port Piraeus and the lease of a bundle of 14 regional airports to a joint venture led by German airport operator Fraport (FRAG.DE).

In a reform list sent to the creditors last month, Athens estimated privatization revenues of 1.5 billion euros this year.

via Reuters

Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza