Penta owns largest odds-betting network in CE Europe - Sunday 12th of June 2005
Czech odds-betting company Fortuna, Slovakia's Terno and Poland's Profesjonal generate annual sales of CZK 6 billion.
Penta said it was planning to enter the betting markets in other countries in the region. Around 200,000 people daily visit the 1,200 odds-betting branches in the three countries.
Penta declined to comment on a potential public offering on the group, saying it wanted to run the group for three to five years as a financial investor.
"The transaction was closed on Thursday. It is premature to comment on a potential entry into the stock market. It is too early," said Penta investment manager Josef Janov.
Penta also bought a stake in El Rancho, focusing on American roulette and video-lottery terminals, the fastest-growing segment of the lottery business.
Czech sales from odds-betting dipped by 5 percent to CZK 10.6 billion last year, but sales from these two types of games rose by two-thirds to CZK 9 billion.
"This is a phenomenon that is spreading to our region from Western Europe," said Janov.
The price of the transaction has not been made public. "Such was the agreement with the seller," said Fortuna board chairman Martin Stefunko.
Fortuna's former co-owner, Michal Horacek, said earlier that bids could reach about USD 100 million (CZK 2.3 billion at the time of the sale) at the end of 2004.
"All agreements have been met," Horacek said Friday.
Penta said it may also enter the e-betting market. E-betting is not legal in the Czech Republic, but Czechs often use foreign servers.
"The government should realise that it is losing increasing sums of money," said Stefunko.
Fortuna, with sales worth CZK 3 billion in 2004, is the Czech number two betting company after Tipsport. Profesjonal, with a turnover of CZK 1.6 billion, is the largest betting company in Poland with a market share of 35 percent.
Terno is the third largest betting company in Slovakia, with turnover topping CZK 1.3 billion.
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