Article on Seeking Alpha (May, 2011): OPAP: A Special Situation in the Sports Industry
The Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics (OPAP)
The Greek Organization of Football Prognostics is one of the companies that is being put up for privatization by the Greek Special Secretariat for Asset Restructuring and Privatisations (SSARP). So an investment thesis for OPAP would generally be categorized as a Special Situation as the SSARP will try to maximize the value of its 34% stake in OPAP before the privatization.
The privatization scheeme is layed out in a Letter of Intent from the Greek Government to the IMF (available here). There are three critical events in the case of OPAP:
Date % to be sold Type Intermediate steps
3Q2011 100.0% Concession
3Q2011 100.0% New games Gaming law enacted by end-August
4Q2011 34.0% Share sale
You can find a more detailed write-up in a Seeking Alpha article of mine published in May 2011, along with some references. But to sum it up:
- The operations of OPAP have some very appealing characteristics:
- Its operating in a monopolistic environment (through a license which it holds until 2020 at least)
- It has very low capital requirements
- It distributes nearly all of its earnings to shareholders
- 90% of costs are variable and move in line with revenue
- No inventories
- Average life of accounts receivable is 3 days
- An investment in OPAP combines the following factors:
- Depressed market prices: Currently OPAP shares are being priced in the market as a 10 annuity with no continuing value.
- Quality operations: For the reasons stated above, the company operates a high quality business and is likely to distribute a large quantity of its earnings back to shareholders on a regular basis (you’ll get paid for waiting).
- Evidence of resource conversion: The controlling shareholder (the Greek Government) has publicly announced a planned asset disposal in 2012 but at the same time it is in a position to significantly increase the value (compared to current market prices) of these assets before the disposal.
- Eric Hagemann: The Greek Organization of Football Prognostics
- Fernbank´s Matt Pauls & Alex Tabatabai: An Open Letter to the Greek Finance Minister
- Matt Pauls & Alex Tabatabai: Investing in OPAP Is Like Betting on the House
- Press Release Regarding the Selection of Privatization Advisors
- Hellenic National Reform Programme 2011-2014
- Greece’s Circular Reasoning Challenge Moves From BoomBustBlog to the Mainstream
- INVITATION FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
FOR THE PROVISION OF SPECIALIZED GAMING TECHNICAL SERVICES TO THE
HELLENIC REPUBLIC IN RELATION TO THE PRIVATIZATION OF OPAP