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Emma Delta: Our bid is "fair" and "open"

Greek-Czech fund Emma Delta, the only remaining suitor in the race for the privatisation of Greek gambling monopoly OPAP, declined to say o if it would raise its offer for the company, as Athens has asked it to do.

Emma Delta confirmed in a statement it offered 622 million euros to buy a 33 percent stake in OPAP. That amount rises to 682 million if one includes 60 million in dividends that Greece stands to receive under the terms of the deal, it said.

"We submitted a fair and open bid," said Czech investor Jiri Smejc, who controls Emma Delta alongside Greek businessman George Melisanidis.

The sale of a controlling share in OPAP, Greeces most profitable company, is considered a test case for its ambitious privatisation programme that forms part of its EU/IMF bailout.

Greek privatisation agency HRADF asked Emma Delta late on Monday to raise its offer and the fund has until Thursday to make up its mind.

A senior official directly involved in the sale told Reuters that Emma Delta would have to pay at least 650 million euros - the stakes minimum value as estimated by an independent valuator hired by HRADF.

That would still represent a discount to the market value of the stake, which was about 740 million euros before the offer, based on OPAPs share price on the Athens bourse.

Deutsche Bank and National Bank, Greeces main advisers, have put the price tag at 610 million euros, both the senior official and Emma Delta said.

The OPAP sale attracted little international interest, highlighting Greeces economic problems and uncertain prospects for OPAP, which faces tax increases and whose monopoly is being challenged.

"Emma Deltas due diligence before the bid highlighted various internal structural problems at OPAP, with profitability hampered by a cumbersome corporate structure and tight cash-flow, which is forecast to continue for the next two years," the fund said in its statement.

"There is also a considerable degree of uncertainty over future revenue streams like VLTs (videolottos), online gaming and the State Lotteries," it said, adding it was confident that its bid would be accepted.

Other investors in the group are Greek businessman Christos Copelouzos, Russian investment firm ICT Group, Czech Republic-based investment fund KKCG and Slovak investment fund J&T Finance.
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