Just 244 of EasyJet’s 3,500 employees in its first free share scheme chose to sell their shares when the plan vested in October last year.
From when the shares were granted three years ago until the scheme vested, the budget airline has seen its share price fall from 490p to 396.8p. The share price stood at 396.2p on 26 January 2010.
Ken Lawrie, head of reward at EasyJet, said: “The share price does go up and down, so [employees] might feel there is more value in hanging on to the shares than the price suggests. There have been difficult trading conditions, so the share price will be lower [than at the start of the scheme], but people are holding on to them and hoping the price will rise.”
Two further employee share schemes – a sharesave scheme and a share incentive plan – are due to vest in August this year. “Our intention in launching the share schemes has been to try to align the interests of our employees with those of the business,” said Lawrie.
Under the sharesave scheme, staff can save up to £250 a month and receive the maximum discount on stock of 20%. “The proportion of staff who have kept their shares is quite high,” said Lawrie.