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Lottery operator Sazka Group raises stake in Casinos Austria

"Jessica" (2018-02-05)

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VIENNA, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Czech-based lottery and gaming group Sazka Group, which is considering a stock market listing in London, has increased its stake in Casinos Austria, it said on Monday.

Sazka, owned by Czech investors Karel Komarek's KKCG group and Jiri Smejc's EMMA Capital, got approval from Casinos Austria's shareholders to increase its stake to 34 percent from 11.3 percent after buying the indirect shares held by investment fund LLI and insurer UNIQA.

Sazka group companies took in bets worth over 15 billion euros ($19.62 billion) in 2016 in the Czech Republic, Austria, Greece and Italy, according to its website.

Casinos Austria generated an operating profit of 150 million euros on revenue of 4 billion euros in 2016.

"We are pleased to have strengthened our position as the largest strategic shareholder in Casinos Austria," Sazka Group Chief Executive Robert Chvatal said.

"Sazka Group´s lottery and gaming expertise comes from multiple markets and we are excited about leveraging that experience for the benefit of White label casino setup with all best games from netent and microgaming of Casinos Austria stakeholders."

In November, Sazka said it had hired Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Cazenove and Morgan Stanley as joint global coordinators for a possible initial public offering, but said it was also evaluating other options to fund growth. ($1 = 0.8157 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Jason Hovets. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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