Greece extends deadline on gaming monopoly tender

Greece's privatisation fund on Thursday said it would extend to May 1 a deadline for the sale of state gaming monopoly OPAP at the behest of the sole remaining bidder, Greco-Czech consortium Emma Delta.

"Emma Delta requested an extension to the deadline to submit an improved offer for the acquisition of 33 percent of OPAP, to May 1," the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund said.

"The HRADF board unanimously approved the request and will convene again on the issue on May 1," the agency said.

Emma Delta has offered 682 million euros ($889 million) to acquire OPAP, Greece's most profitable state company, including some 60 million euros in dividends.

HRADF asked for an improved offer on Monday.

A rival bid by American investment fund Third Point was eliminated on Monday for placing conditions on the sale, in violation of the tender rules.

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 were trading at 6.9 euros on Thursday.

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 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.