Around 12,000 Ladbrokes staff are to receive free shares in the company as a reward for the firm’s success, the bookmaker announced today.
The world’s largest betting shop chain said all employees with more than one year’s service would benefit from the Freeshare scheme.
The windfall comes just weeks after the bookies posted a 5% hike in profits for the first four months of the year and said it was confident about the future with the World Cup starting today set to be “the biggest betting event ever”.
Staff working more than 30 hours per week will receive shares to the value of £250 (€363) while those who work 20 to 30 hours will get £200 (€291.18) worth and those under 20 hours, £150 (€218.49) in shares.
Chief executive Christopher Bell said the gift of shares is in recognition of the contribution staff have made and also gives them a stake in the future of the company.
“We already have a tremendously loyal staff and we hope this provides a further incentive to them to continue to offer the best levels of service in the industry,” he said.
While UK employees can sell their shares after three years, the full tax benefits are felt after five years when all the shares can be sold tax-free, he added.
Shares in Ladbrokes are currently trading at 386p.
Ladbrokes began in 1886 as a betting partnership in the Warwickshire village of Ladbroke. It now employs 14,000 people in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Jersey and Gibraltar.
As well as Ladbrokes – the bookies and telephone betting operations – it owns gaming website Ladbrokes.com, football pools company Vernons and Ladbrokes Casinos.
Ladbrokes had been part of the Hilton Group, but the two businesses split earlier this year following the sale of the hotel brand to its US-based sister company.