The government of Greece intends to sell part of its 34 percent stake in betting group OPAP by the end of the first quarter of 2012.
According to Reuters, OPAP currently has a total market capitalization of about €2.3 billion. The gaming firm recently announced that Greece had transferred 29 percent of its holding to its privatization agency.
Greece has come under increasing pressure to sell off state-owned assets to offset its €360 billion debt, which is about 20 percent higher than the national GDP.
“The target is to launch the tender in the first quarter,” Ioannis Koukiadis, chairman of the privatization agency, told Reuters.
Koukiadis would not say when the sale will be completed.
“There are a series of issues involved in the completion which are not time-bound,” he said. “I want to believe we won’t have any problems, as there is strong interest.”
The sale of the OPAP stake was originally to take place in 2011, but was postponed due to a number of factors, including reluctance on the part of Greece to sell the asset at its then-low value.
The government raised only €1.7 billion from privatization last year, well short of the €4 billion target, and intends to sell off as much as €50 billion worth of assets over time. However, the expected sale for 2012 has already been lowered from €9.3 billion to €4.7 billion.
Koukiadis said the original target was not achievable and that the revised target depends on whether Greece achieves a debt swap deal (PSI) with private creditors and secures a new package to avoid default.
“No asset can be tendered if the PSI and the bailout deal are not concluded,” he said.