2.3 Advantages of EFP for businesses & employees

The advantages of EFP for busses in Europe, with a view to the EU 2020 Strategy, is to improve their competitiveness and the quality of corporate management by increasing employees’ loyalty and identification with the company.

One of the main positive effects of EFP schemes is with respect to business succession. The EC single market is characterised by an enormous increase in transfers of company ownership, which will affect annually up to 690,000 unquoted companies and 2.8 million jobs annually as a result of an ageing European population. The ESOP model is tailored to the needs of unquoted companies, operating as a vehicle to facilitate transitions in ownership and management of family enterprises and SMEs in order to secure their continuity. It encourages business owners to sell their enterprise to their employees and not to a third party and foresees the gradual acquisition of up to 100% employee ownership.

In this respect it is rather innovative the focus of the EESC on the public sector where they press to encourage development of “model which offers the opportunity of EFP to all vocational groups and forms of enterprises taking into account the specific situation of the public sector.”

Forms of share ownership, where other acquisition of shares via a trusteed fund is financed by a profit share scheme paid in addition to wages, already exist. This is normally a separate intermediary entity, which manages the shareholding held in trust for employees[1]. The governance of these trusts should be direct expression of all employee shareholders, with no influence from the management, in a democratic elective way.

Best practice examples of intermediary entities holding employee shares are: AUCHAN[2] (France); HOMAG AG[3] (Germany); Pfalz Flugzeugwerke (PFW Aerospace AG)[4] (Germany); Voestalpine AG[5] (Austria); Oktogonen Foundation[6] (Sweden); Herend-ESOP[7]ll-ESOP[8] (UK); Eircom-ESOP[9] and Aerlingus-ESOP[10] (Ireland).

[1]              In continental Europe usually a limited company, foundation or association, in the UK and North America a trust.

[2]              Purpose: enhancing loyalty and employee motivation; http://www.groupe-auchan.com/emploi.html.

[3]              Purpose: financing of growth; http://www.homag.com/de-de/career/Seiten/mitarbeiterkapitalbeteiligung.aspx.

[4]              Purpose: EADS spin-off; http://www.netz-bund.de/pages/mitarbges.pdf, p. 32 et seq.

[5]              Purpose: privatisation and strategic shareholding; http://www.voestalpine.com/annualreport0809/en/management_report/employees.html.

[6]              Purpose: enhancing loyalty and employee motivation; see Handelsbanken, Annual Report 2009, http://www.handelsbanken.se/shb/inet/icentsv.nsf/vlookuppics/investor_relations_en_hb_09_eng_ar_rev/$file/hb09eng_medfoto.pdf, pp. 53, 56.

[7]              Purpose: privatisation as well as enhancing loyalty and employee motivation; http://www.herend.com/en/manufactory/story/, lacking details on ESOP, see year 1992.

[8]              Purpose: business succession; http://www.tullis-russell.co.uk/group/about/.

[9]              Purpose: privatisation and strategic shareholding; http://www.esop.eircom.ie/.

[10]           Purpose: privatisation and strategic shareholding; http://www.aerlingus.com/aboutus/investorrelations/shareregister/.

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