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 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
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 governance."