Jiří Šmejc creates Emma Delta to take over OPAP

The fact that Jiří Šmejc intended to take part in the Greek betting company OPAP’s privatisation was reported by motejlek.com at the end of October. Two weeks later, Reuters scooped everybody else with the news that Šmejc would be advising one of the candidates, without specifying the candidate’s name. This misleading information was subsequently widely parroted by the Czech media.

The truth is, Šmejc is jumping into the fray himself. At the beginning of November, he created a Cyprus-based investment company – Emma Delta – specifically for the purpose. His partner with a one third interest in the above company is George Melisanidis, son of the Greek ship-owning magnate Dimitris Melisanidis. For the OPAP privatisation deal, Emma Delta will be advised by its affiliate Emma Delta Management.

OPAP, or, to be more precise, the third part share that is still state-owned, is the first morsel that Emma Delta will go for in the big Greek sales. It filed its tender with HRADF, the Greek privatisation agency, along with six other candidates: Intralot, BC Partners, the Gauselmann-Playtech-Helvason consortium, Fosun Group, TGP Capital, and Triple Five World Group Properties.

OPAP, the equivalent of the Czech Sazka Company, is one of the most alluring prizes within the proposed area of state-owned Greek companies earmarked for privatisation. Its last year’s sales were €4.36bn, for a €537.5m net profit. Even though these figures are down from the previous year, they still remain very worthwhile indeed.

Translated by Lingvus

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