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Greece holds out for improved offer on gaming monopoly

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Greek privatisation fund on Monday said it had asked Greco-Czech consortium Emma Delta to improve an undisclosed bid for the sale of the state's 33-percent stake in gaming monopoly OPAP.

"Emma Delta has been asked to submit an improved offer," the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund said in a statement, adding that a new meeting would be held later this week.

Another offer by American investment fund Third Point was conditional, in violation of the tender rules, and was not examined, the agency said.

Greece's most profitable state company, OPAP has a state concession for the exclusive right to operate 13 games of chance until October 2030, and a 10-year license for the operation of 35,000 video lottery terminals.

The government in 2012 imposed a 30-percent levy on the company's mixed gaming profits until 2020, and a five-percent take to 2030.

OPAP in 2012 cleared 505.5 million euros, a six-percent fall in net revenue compared to the previous year.

There were originally eight contenders for the company.

OPAP shares closed 0.85 percent higher on Monday to 7.08 euros.

Facing a sixth consecutive year of recession, the heavily-indebted country has been relying on international rescue packages to avoid bankruptcy.

Since 2010, the European Union and the IMF have committed 240 billion euros ($313 billion) overall in rescue loans to Greece.

In return, Greece has pledged to raise 9.5 billion euros in asset sales by 2016, a target that was originally 50 billion.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130422/greece-holds-out-improved-offer-gaming-monopoly