staff reap flotation perks

Eligible employees at UK finance and travel price comparison website were expected to have taken up offers of free shares worth around £3,000 each and the option of partnership shares on 31 July, at the final stage of its flotation.

Staff were also offered a preferential allocation of shares of up to £25,000 in the company as part of the flotation process.

Conditional dealing in shares of the company on the London Stock Exchange began on 24 July. As Employee Benefits went to press on 26 July, at the close of business the share price stood at 163p.

The partnership shares and free shares were offered to approximately 600 eligible staff through two revenue-approved share incentive plans (Sips).

Those employees opting to participate in the partnership share scheme will be able to allocate £125 a month from their salary to purchase shares, which will be held in trust until they decide to sell them.

If they decide to sell the shares before the end of a five-year period they will give up any tax and national insurance savings.

Employees who take up the offer of free shares will have to hold them through a trust for a minimum of three years to qualify for the full allocation.

If employees leave within the first year they will forfeit 100% of shares; while those who leave between one and two years later will forfeit 50%, and anyone who leaves after two-to-three years will forfeit 20%.

Alexander Cowen-Wright, head of PR and communications, said: “The chief executive has carved up a portion of the shares that he owns in the company and has basically given those to staff.

“People who come to work for us tend to want to move up or through the company rather than leave, and so they might want to own part of the company that they work for.”