Spirit launches share-save scheme ahead of IPO

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Spirit Group has launched a share-save scheme for every member of staff from glass collector to chief executive ahead of a flotation.The group, which...

Spirit Group has launched a share-save scheme for every member of staff from glass collector to chief executive ahead of a flotation.

The group, which bought the £2.51bn Scottish & Newcastle Retail managed business last year, confirmed the offer to staff last week and intends to go public possibly within 18 months.

The SpiritShare scheme gives the company's 45,000 staff the chance to get their hands on up to £8m worth of equity in the Burton-based group.

Chief executive Karen Jones said, "SpiritShare is something we feel really passionate about as a business: it's hugely important that as many people as possible have a stake in our future success.

"Spirit's success is built on our team's success - what each individual does everyday in their role within their pub or support team makes a real difference to that success and it's important that together as one team, we all share in our future."

The scheme is in two parts. Firstly, of the £8m up for grabs, £2m will be allocated to pub managers, assistant managers, head chefs, area managers and support staff, who will receive a free allocation worth £250 each.

The remaining £6m is available for staff to purchase through their pay. The company has capped the scheme for each member of staff to one times annual salary.

SpiritShare is being launched at pub manager roadshows throughout May and June. If the scheme is oversubscribed it will be scaled back accordingly.

The group stressed that this was a "phantom share" scheme -like the one that existed in 'Old Spirit' - and not necessarily a signal that a float would automatically follow.

Spirit was catapulted to top spot in the managed house sector when it bought the 1,400-strong S&N Retail in October 2003. Its brands now include Chef & Brewer, Henry's, Two For One and Wacky Warehouse.

At the time of the S&N transaction the group had set a three-year time plan for a public flotation.

However, it is understood that it could launch within 18 months, dependent on the conditions in the equity markets. The group is in the midst of selling budget hotel chain Premier Lodge, a deal that could fetch up to £550m.

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