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 A French Success Story

Since the beginning of the year, the number of Employee Ownership Trusts in the UK has been growing at an increasing rate.

At this pace, the number of companies passed on to employees will double this year to 600 or 700. Since the formula was put in place in April 2014, just a few years ago, it has been a success.

In comparison, France set up a "takeover FCPE" system in 2006.

In France, too, the figure is rising sharply. Indeed, only two cases of company transfers to takeover FCPEs had occurred between 2006 and 2020, but this number could rise to three in 2021, i.e. +50%. This would place France not far from the +100% expected in Great Britain and in any case much higher than all other European countries.

The takeover FCPE was designed on the same principle as the FCPEs that are so successful in large companies. In both cases, these are employee share purchase plans.

Under the share purchase plans, employees are invited to invest a portion of their savings in company shares. To this end, they benefit from incentives (price discounts, company contributions, tax bonuses, etc). These plans are well suited to large companies, whose size is a factor in mitigating financial risk.

On the other hand, buying the shares of an SME is a much riskier operation. And the investment by employees in an SME is generally made during a business transfer, so a significant part of the company, often 100%, must be purchased. Generally, employee savings are not within the scope of such an operation.

The countries that have been most successful in organising an employee ownership policy in SMEs are those that have adopted financial mechanisms that are essentially different from share purchase plans.

ESOP plans in the United States and Employee Ownership Trusts in the United Kingdom are not employee share purchase plans. Employees do not take the risk of investing their personal savings. These employee share ownership plans are therefore much less risky. And yet they allow employees to become owners of their company, often 100% thereof.

There is nothing to prevent the same financial mechanisms being adopted in France. Nothing serious stands in the way of implementing an effective employee share ownership policy in SMEs, thus heralding a new French success story.

More information       

Press review
We have a selection of 34 remarkable articles in 11 countries in February 2021: Canada, Germany, France, India, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Tunisia, UK, USA.
Canada: Make employee ownership a cornerstone of Canada's economic recovery.
Germany: The Great Misunderstanding of employee share ownership and startups. Why the ignorance of politicians will lead to more incentives for employee ownership in large companies, while the demand comes from startups. German trade unionism and employee buyouts.
France: Record level for employee share ownership at EssilorLuxottica. Business transfers through workers' co-operative. Threats for employee shareholders of Natixis.
India: Employee share ownership increasingly popular among startups.
Italy: Role of employee share ownership in the governance of EssilorLuxottica.
Netherlands: Employee ownership for startups.
Norway: New report commissioned by the financial sector union recommends the development of employee share ownership in Norway.
Poland: New report: Employee share ownership is the missing link of the labor market.
Tunisia: For a Tunisian ESOP plan.
UK: Employee Ownership Trusts are multiplying faster and faster.
USA: Unlike Employee Stock Ownership Plans, EOT is not a retirement program and employees do not receive an equity stake in the company.

The full press review is available on:


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   With best regards



Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 791 96 00
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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 share ownership and participation in Europe.