Wednesday, November 23, 2011 : Euros 300 million will be used to expand the business, says OPAP
 
OPAP, Europe's biggest betting company in which the debt-burdened Greek government has a significant stake, has secured a loan of up to Euro 300 million with a consortium of Greek banks to expand its business, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
 
The debt-free company needs the loan after it spent about Euro 475 million this month to acquire an exclusive videolotto licence from the government in Greece, reports the Reuters news agency. It will pay another Euro 375 million by early December to renew its betting monopoly for 10 years to 2030.
 
"We have finalised with Greek banks a syndicated unsecured facility of Euro 300 million maximum; most likely it may be lower," chief executive Yannis Spanoudakis said during a conference call with analysts Tuesday. He revealed that the cost will be 6.75 percent over the three-month Euribor rate.
 
With foreign lenders reluctant to lend to Greek firms due to the Eurozone economic crisis, the banks that are leading the consortium are Greece's National Bank, EFG Eurobank, Emporiki Bank and Hellenic Postbank.
 
Spanoudakis said OPAP was still considering raising money in foreign markets for higher security, albeit at a higher cost.
 
Greeks have been gambling less after being hit with government austerity measures, and as a result OPAP's third-quarter profit dropped 16 percent to Euro 135.4 million, with predictions of another tough year in 2012