Equity Group has announced the revival of its employee share ownership plan (Esop) in an effort to retain and attract talented staff. The bank plans to distribute 198.6 million shares, valued at Sh7.6 billion, to employees over the next 10 years. This comes after a previous attempt four years ago to implement a similar plan, which was abandoned just before the allotment of 205.7 million shares in 2019.
Equity Group’s board has proposed the creation of additional shares to support the Esop and will seek shareholder approval during the upcoming annual general meeting on June 28.
The newly created shares will amount to five percent of the company’s share capital, raising the maximum share capital from Sh1.886 billion to Sh1.986 billion. The directors will have the flexibility to issue the additional shares in tranches and based on terms and conditions they deem appropriate.
Notably, the Group’s CEO, James Mwangi, is among the employees expected to benefit from the share allotment. The previous Esop plan in 2019, which was withdrawn during the AGM, would have allocated 205.7 million shares worth Sh8.4 billion to bank staff.
This new Esop will be the second of its kind for Equity Group, as the bank initially established a stock-based compensation scheme before its listing on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 2006. Esops are employee benefit plans that provide ownership interest in the company through shares. They are designed to enhance staff productivity, reward employees, and attract and retain talent. The approval of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is required for the implementation of Esops. According to the CMA, as of March 2021, it had approved 14 Esops.