OPAP leadership looks forward following year of readjustments

OPAP leadership looks forward following year of readjustments

Friday, March 31, 2017
Increased taxes led to a challenging 2016 for the Greek operator

Higher taxes imposed by the austerity-minded Greek government and an increased expenditure on infrastructure projects have impacted the full-year 2016 performance of gambling operator OPAP.

Publishing its full-year 2016 results, OPAP governance said that the firm had sustained group wagering of €4.2 billion, with the company recording flat group gross gaming revenues of €1.39 billion.

However, faced by an increase in industry taxes to 35%, OPAP metrics would be impacted to a 2016 EBITDA of €307 million, down 18% on corresponding FY 2015’s €377 million, combined with a 19% decline in full-year profits to €170 million (FY 2015: €210 million).

Updating investors, OPAP’s new Chief Executive Damien Cope (appointed May 2016) stated that 2016 had been a year of adjustment for the firm’s operations, as the company looks forward to undertaking new infrastructure projects in 2017.

Cope commented: “During 2016, I set out the company’s long-term ambition and the key strategic priorities. I am pleased with the progress that the OPAP team has achieved across many of the key initiatives. 2017 will be a year of unprecedented levels of change for OPAP, and we have started well.”

This month, OPAP governance announced that it had secured a €200 million bond issue, which allows the company to speed up its retail terminals and new systems projects in partnership with Playtech BGT.

OPAP has outlined three points of restructuring for future development, focusing on an IT overhaul, investment in video lottery terminals and installation of Playtech BGT self-service betting terminals.

Totally Gaming says: OPAP always faced a tough 2016 having to deal with increased taxes within an unstable Greek home economy. However, under the new leadership of Damien Cope, the operator is tackling its issues head on. If the firm’s all-round systems upgrade proves to be an effective success, Greece will once again prove to be a lucrative market.

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