Airbus parent EADS is granting its staff 10 shares each free of charge in order to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
The move was announced by Chief Executive Louis Gallois at an annual briefing ahead of the Farnborough Airshow, being held almost 10 years to the day since the company was created from a merger of French, German and Spanish aerospace interests.
Europe’s largest aerospace group employs just over 119,000 people. Its products include Airbus passenger jets, Arianespace rockets, Astrium satellites, France’s nuclear deterrent and the German and Spanish interests in the Eurofighter combat jet, Reuters reports.
The shares will be delivered “in the later part of this year” and replace the 2010 instalment of an Employee Share Ownership Plan, or ESOP, according to an internal memo to staff seen by Reuters.
The shares will not be newly issued stock but will come from a pool of shares earmarked for buyback, executives said.
The 2010 edition of the ESOP scheme would have involved an offer of up to 2 million shares at a 20 percent discount to the market price, according to the company’s annual report.
In Nov. 2009 EADS offered up to 0.25 percent of its capital or 2.035 mln shares to its own employees for 10.76 euros per share. Staff actually subscribed for 1.359 million shares.
Gallois has campaigned against generous share options usually reserved for management in many companies, a sensitive topic in France and several European countries in the financial crisis.
He turned down a 1 million euro bonus for 2009 for the second year running.