Turkish lottery privatisation on hold


After months of tendering and manoeuvring for position by several major prospective partners, the Turkish lottery privatisation has been put on hold for the forseeable future, with the government claiming that it had not been able to negotiate a fair price with the the two final tenderers for Milli Piyango.

The final two bidders, Greek state monopoly gambling group OPAP and Turkcell, balked at the minimum asking price of $1.622 billion, a government spokesman said.

A disappointed OPAP CEO, Christos Hadjiemmanuil told the Reuters news agency: "We had expected a different procedure. There was a procedure of two stages with closed bids in camera. In between the two rounds, Turkey announced its own amount of $1.622 billion. There was a confusion. It is obvious that the amount is excessive and unrealistic and we are not willing to hit it."

He added that the figure put forward by the Turks exceeded Milli Piyango's annual revenues.

OPAP partnered with Turkey's Dogus Group and Alarko Holding.

Turkey's Privatisation Administration told Reuters that after the Tender Commission announced a minimum price, the participants refused to raise their bids, saying that the confidential bids already submitted remained valid.

'The Tender Commission has, therefore, decided to cancel the tender," the agency advised.

Italian lottery and gaming operator Gruppo Lottomatica pulled out of a joint venture for the lottery with the Dogon group earlier this year.

Analysts commenting on the withdrawal of the tender speculated that the failure to privatise Milli Piyango could deal a major blow to Turkey's efforts to secure direct foreign investment at a time when the economy is entering recession.

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