Angloplat launches Esop scheme, 46 000 employees to benefit

11th June 2008 By: Chanel de Bruyn - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

Platinum major Anglo Platinum (Angloplat) has launched its Kotula Trust, a broad-based employee share ownership participation (Esop) scheme that would benefit some 46 000 of its employees, on Wednesday.

The company was issuing the equivalent of 1,5% of its market capitilisation to its employees, adjusting a portion of the percentage to allow for a gifted share component.

The financing structure of the Kotula Trust was made up of 40% free shares and 60% of loan shares. The loan shares had to be repaid by the trust.

The outstanding loan would be paid through 50% of the dividend on the Esop shares. The scheme was a seven-year vesting trust that would distribute dividends each year. Capital payment would be made to the beneficiaries at the end of the fifth, sixth and seventh years.

Angloplat said this trust represented the biggest ownership transaction in the mining industry to date, in terms of value and in terms of the number of beneficiaries.

"Angloplat is fully supportive of black economic-empowerment as a strategic transformation objective and recognises the importance of the participation of its employees in its transformation initiatives," the company said in a statement.

The trade union Solidarity welcomed the scheme. “This is not only the largest deal of its kind ever in the mining industry, but also the largest worker empowerment scheme ever announced,” said Solidarity spokesperson Reint Dykema.

He added that every worker, even those at D1 band who had never before owned Angloplat shares, would now be a shareholder. “An Esop is one of the best ways to achieve empowerment and shrink the gap between rich and poor,” he said.

The Esop scheme was announced in September last year, when Angloplat also unveiled mega-empowerment deals involving it selling a 51% stake in the Lebowa mine and a 1% shareholding in GaPhasha project to black-owned junior Anooraq.