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OPAP: Q1 net profit 38.9 mln euros

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Greek gambling monopoly OPAP posted its lowest quarterly profit in almost ten years and missed analysts sales forecast on Thursday, hurt by higher taxes and a deepening recession in its austerity-stricken home market.

Net income for the first three months of the year dropped 71 percent year-on-year to 38.9 million euros ($50.9 million).

That is the companys smallest quarterly profit since the last quarter of 2003, according to ThomsonReuters data and was broadly in line with analysts forecast of 39.9 million euros in a recent Reuters poll.

Greeces cash-strapped government slapped a 30 percent levy on OPAPs gross revenues before agreeing to privatising the company earlier this month, hurting results.

Sales fell 18 percent to 869 million euros, missing analysts 900-million-euro forecast, as a crippling recession slashed Greeks disposable income and dampened their gambling appetite. A five-day strike by OPAPs sales agents in January also hit revenues.

"The economic environment remains unfavourable," OPAP said. The firm stuck to its outlook for net profit of 116 million euros for the full year.

Greece earlier this month agreed to sell a controlling 33 percent stake in OPAP to Greek-Czech investment fund Emma Delta for 652 million euros, kicking of its long-delayed privatisation programme.

The companys shares trade at about 16.7 times estimated 2013 earnings, according to ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S Estimates.
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