January 04, 2010

Greece picks Spanoudakis as OPAP CEO

Greece named Yannis Spanoudakis, a senior Athens 2004 Olympics organiser, as the new chief executive officer of Europe's biggest betting company OPAP , a company official said on Wednesday.

'The Greek state proposes Yannis Spanoudakis as new CEO and Haris Stamatopoulos as new Chairman,' OPAP's outgoing CEO Christos Hadjiemmanouil said in a general shareholders meeting held to approve the appointments.

Spanoudakis was a former managing director with the Athens 2004 Olympics organising committee and a senior executive with Dow Chemical. Stamatopoulos is a former chief of the Athens International Airport.

The Greek state is OPAP's biggest shareholder, with a 34 percent stake, which means the proposed candidates should get shareholders' approval.

Hadjiemmanouil and other board members offered their resignation after the new Socialist government came to power in the Oct. 4 elections.

OPAP has a national monopoly on sports betting and lotteries until 2020 but is facing stiff competition from foreign Internet bookmakers although online betting is still illegal in Greece.

Analysts are concerned about the impact of any new gaming taxes imposed on the company as the Greek government struggles to shore up its battered finances.

The government has suspended until April 30 a 10 percent lottery tax introduced by its conservative predecessors.

OPAP shares reversed earlier losses after the announcement, to trade 0.1 percent higher at 15.47 euros at 1052 GMT.

Shares in OPAP, down 25 percent since the start of the year, have underperformed a 23 percent rise of the Athens bourse's benchmark index.

The stock trades at 7.5 times estimated 2009 earnings, compared with a multiple of 7.2 for British bookmaker Ladbrokes and 13 for Italy's Lottomatica, data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S showed.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that they have a 'State provider' in the first place is a complete joke, OPAP are a virtual licence to print money for those involved at the expense of the consumer. They don't even have an online presence - rather they just get the Greek authorities to ban online gambling altogether!