Czech investor Smejc teams with Melisanidis to file sole bid for 33% of Greek OPAP.

By bne IntelliNews April 24, 2013

Greek-Czech investment fund Emma Delta, controlled by Czech investor Jiri Smejc and Greek shipping tycoon George Malisandidis, has filed the sole bid to buy a 33% stake in Greek gambling monopoly OPAP, Reuters reported.

Emma Delta offered EUR 622mn for the OPAP stake, according to Reuters sources, but the Greek government asked it to improve the bid that came lower than the gambling firm’s market value. The bid of the other candidate, US investment fund Third Point, was disqualified earlier this week reportedly due to the fact that it wanted to be allowed to re-sell the shares to other investors at some point in the future.

The weak interest in the sale of OPAP, which is Greece’s most profitable company, can be explained with the uncertain prospects for OPAP that faces tax rises and whose monopoly is being challenged, Reuters said. Greece’s economic problems are also believed to have played a role.

Smejc, former shareholder in Czech financial and investment group PPF, owns 13.4% of consumer finance provider Home Credit and Air Bank, both part of PPF.

According to earlier media reports, PPF, controlled by billionaire Petr Kellner, is interested in buying a stake in Greek natural gas pipeline operator DESFA, scrapping an earlier plan to buy DESFA’s owner, gas company DEPA.

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