March 27, 2019 / 5:14 PM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-OPAP fourth-quarter profit up but misses forecast on one-off cost

* OPAP Q4 net profit at 38 mln euros

* Analysts average forecast was for net profit of 51.8 mln euros

* One-off impairment weighed on Q4 results

* OPAP to pay dividend of 0.70 euros/share (Adds detail)

ATHENS, March 27 (Reuters) - OPAP, Europe’s fourth-largest betting firm by revenue, on Wednesday posted a 16 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit thanks to a growing video lottery business and cost savings.

Net profit in the October-December period stood at 38 million euros ($42.75 million), up from 33 million euros in the same period last year, OPAP said.

The figure was below analysts’ average forecast of 51.8 million euros in a Reuters poll.

OPAP said a one-off goodwill impairment of 17.5 million euros weighed on fourth-quarter net profit.

OPAP, which was sold by the state in 2013, started rolling out video-lottery terminals in 2017, a business which is seen as its main driver of growth in coming years.

It said it operated 18,944 machines at the end of last year under its plan to have installed a total of 25,000 machines by the end of this year.

Gross gaming revenue rose 7.6 percent to 440.7 million euros, with a growing share of those machines and lotteries more than offsetting weakness in sports betting.

OPAP trades at 14.9 times its 12-month profit, compared to 13.7 for British bookmaker William Hill.

$1 = 0.8889 euros Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Ken ferris

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