FirstGroup staff in £4m shares windfall

FirstGroup has paid out shares worth £4 million to 1,500 employees belonging to its sharesave (save as you earn) scheme.

The bus and rail operator’s increase in share price means employees who invested an average of £50 a month stand to gain in excess of £2,500.

Moir Lockhead, chief executive of FirstGroup, said: “We’re delighted that, as part of their total reward, so many of our people have benefited from [sharesave] this year, and that they are able to enjoy a very real share in the success of FirstGroup.”

FirstGroup employees have been able to participate in its annual sharesave scheme since 2002. Through the plan, staff save for a fixed period of time, and can use their savings to purchase shares at the market price at the beginning of the scheme, which is then discounted by 20%. Over 12,000 employees are currently enrolled in a scheme.

Fiona Downes, head of employee share ownership at Ifs Proshare,a non-profit organisation that focuses on financial education and share ownership in the workplace, said: “This is great news for the bus and train drivers, engineers and other staff at FirstGroup and further demonstrates what a positive effect [sharesave] schemes can have on company performance and employee rewards.”