Survey of Employee Ownership in Europe in 2016
European Federation of Employee Share Ownership (EFES)
released the new "Annual Economic Survey of Employee
Share Ownership in European Countries" on March
Employee share ownership is
growing across Europe. The ownership stake held by
employees in large European companies has never been
so high before, with 3.20% in 2016 compared to 2.48%
in 2006. This growing average means that, even among
largest European companies, the employees' ownership
stake is significant, strategic or even controlling
in many cases.
The Survey is based on the
2.335 European listed companies of significant size
in 2016. All together, this was a stock market capitalization
of 10.147 billion Euro in 2016, or 99% of the whole
European stock market capitalization and 95% in terms
of employment. These 2.335 companies give thus an
exhaustive picture of all European listed companies.
Among these companies, the
employees' ownership stake was "significant"
in 1.220 or 52% of them (employees holding 1% or more),
it was "strategic" in 464 or 20% of them
(employees holding 6% or more) and it was "controlling"
in 266 or 11% of them (employees holding 20% or more).
These figures are considerable.
Many remarkable cases can
be pointed out among European companies, even the
largest, considering employee ownership. For instance
Voestalpine - steel industry in Austria - with 48.000
employees holding 14.5% or 721 million € in 2016,
Saint-Gobain - building materials in France - with
170.000 employees holding 8.1% or 1.788 million €,
Veidekke - heavy construction in Norway - with 7.000
employees holding 15.4% or 241 million €, Svenska
Handelsbanken in Sweden with 12.000 employees holding
10.3% or 2.082 million €, Mondragon Corporación -
multisectoral in Spain, with 74.000 employees holding
89.9% or 4.026 million €, Siemens in electronics in
Germany with 348.000 employees holding 3.1% or 2.532
million €, Prysmian in wire and cable industry in
Italy with 19.000 employees holding 2.5% or 115 million
€ in 2016.
In most of these companies,
employee ownership is the result of employee share
plans with some common characteristics: They are for
all employees, on voluntary base, price discount and
fiscal support, annually offered, and having to cope
with different rules and tax legislation in each European
country. Representation and participation in corporate
governance is even more complicated and it can be
found mainly in those countries where it is foreseen
in dedicated legislation.
Marc Mathieu, Secretary General
of the EFES said: "Voestalpine is certainly
one of the most remarkable cases in Europe considering
employee ownership and participation in corporate