Strong move in the UK High fiscal incentives are the base of the successful policy to promote employee ownership through ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) in the USA. In contradiction with Europe, this allowed American public policies to promote employee ownership in SMEs. Some 11.000 ESOP companies can be found in the USA compared to only 300 quite similar cases in Europe. It is now generally admitted in the UK that such policy has also to be promoted here, leading to higher productivity, greater levels of innovation and outstanding financial performances. Finance Bill 2014 designs two new tax reliefs to encourage and support the shift to employee-owned companies: • Under the first new tax relief, the sale of a controlling interest in a business to an employee ownership trust, will be entirely free from capital gains tax. • Under the second tax relief, bonuses of up to £3.600 per tax year paid to employees of companies controlled by an employee ownership trust benefit from an income tax exemption. These new incentives are still relatively modest compared to those for ESOPs in the USA but the UK is clearly showing the right way for all European countries.
Press review We have a selection of 53 remarkable articles in 13 countries in May 2014: Australia, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Mali, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, UK, USA, Zimbabwe. Australia: The new tax regime was a disaster for employee share schemes. Austria: The Employee Ownership Foundation owns 10% of Vienna Airport. Finland: New employee share plans for Aspo Group. The law on “personnel funds” didn’t meet all expectations. France: New study on employee ownership: France is number one in Europe. New employee share plans for Orange and for Nexans. New legislation opens doors for more employee representation on boards. A French vision on the British John Lewis Partnership. Germany: Higher fiscal incentives are required to promote employee share plans. Siemens will double the number of its employee shareholders. Italy: Historic agreement for employee share ownership in Banca Intesa Sanpaolo. New employee share plan for Telecom Italia. Mali: Unions ask for the implementation of employee share ownership as a main piece of the privatization plan of Malian telecoms. Morocco: New employee share plan for Vinci. Netherlands: The companies that changed the world economy in the last decades are all companies where employees hold a large part of the business. Poland: Conference on employee share ownership. UK: A new tax relief available from 6 April 2014 will provide full exemption from Capital Gain Tax on the sale of a controlling interest to an employee ownership trust. USA: Lynn Williams was president of the United Steel Workers union and a supporter of employee ownership. How an ESOP can benefit financial professionals. Some surprising ESOP facts. Zimbabwe: Indigenisation Policy Review: Employee ownership is a key-element of the indigenisation policy.
Marc Mathieu Secretary General EFES – EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF EMPLOYEE SHARE OWNERSHIP FEAS – FEDERATION EUROPEENNE DE L’ACTIONNARIAT SALARIE Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 – Fax: +32 (0)2 808 30 33 E-mail: [email protected] Web site: www.efesonline.org EFES’ objective is to act as the umbrella organization of employee owners, companies and all persons, trade unions, experts, researchers, institutions looking to promote employee ownership and participation in Europe.