The Greek government will delay the sale of its stake in monopoly operator OPAP, initially planned for the fourth quarter of 2011, until next year but will announce a first tender next week.
“Next week we will announce a public tender for the state lottery. Then, more announcements will follow at about two-week intervals,” Costas Mitropoulos, CEO of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRAF), told Reuters in an interview.
Debt-saddled Greece, which has a 34% stake in OPAP, needs to expedite its divestment process to continue to receive bailout aid from the International Monetary Fund and fellow EU member states.
Under the terms of the EU/IMF bailout plan, Greece must raise €50 billion by 2015 from selling stakes in state firms and other assets to help to pay down a debt mountain expected to reach 162% of GDP this year.
Government delays, coupled with imploding market values on the Athens bourse, have reduced the sell-off target from €5 to €1.7 billion. However, the sale may fetch even less. OPAP shares have more than halved in the last six months and the government’s stake is worth only €700 million.
Click here to read about the recent feud between OPAP and the RGA.