Defence research firm Qinetiq is to give eligible employees a share allocation worth up to £500 and a priority invitation to buy further shares when the company floats this month.
The flotation, which is due to take place on February 15, is also expected to result in a £45m contribution to the staff defined benefit pension scheme, which has a deficit of around £106m. The initial share price has been set at between 165p and 205p, giving the company a top value of £1.32bn.
The listing is expected to raise £536-£629m, of which £135-£150m will be kept by the company and used partly to pay the £45m pension contribution. The main shareholders are the Ministry of Defence, which will reduce its stake from from 56% to 23.7% on flotation, and venture capital group Carlyle, which has a 30.5% stake that will fall to 12.9%. Until recently it was unclear what benefit staff would get from the flotation, while senior executives stood to gain millions of pounds.
Chief executive Graham Love’s stake alone is expected to be worth around £19m if the flotation goes ahead as planned. The flotation has attracted controversy because the Carlyle Group stands to make large profits. It bought a 34% stake in Qinetiq for £42m in 2002.