Approximately 300 AROBS employees benefit from the first stage of the Stock Option Plan
Cluj-Napoca, November 29, 2022 – AROBS Transilvania Software (BVB: AROBS), the largest technology company listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, announces closing the first stage of the Stock Option Plan (SOP) program for the stimulation and retention of employees within the companies from the group. AROBS aims to turn its team members into company partners through this program.
“Since the listing of AROBS, one of the company’s strategic directions has been to focus on employee motivation and retention by adopting several actions, including a “Stock Option Plan” program. This approach is a natural step in improving within AROBS a culture open to communication, innovation, and entrepreneurship, community spirit, which encourages professional and personal growth, creates a space for involvement, and, at the same time, a partnership. The involvement of colleagues in the performance of the company is an element that distinguishes AROBS in the market and can attract talents with extensive expertise in the field, which can contribute both to the growth of the software services business line for the global market, and in the development of software products for the domestic market and not only. At the same time, we hope that with this program, we will open the appetite of our colleagues to become future investors on the Bucharest Stock Exchange,” stated Voicu Oprean, founder and CEO of AROBS.
In October 2021, the majority shareholder, Voicu Oprean, transferred to the company a number of shares that represented 10% of the company’s share capital on that date. As a result of the private placement and the capital increase, the company ended up owning 80,202,758 shares, which represented 8.8% of the share capital.
During the first stage of the SOP program implemented by AROBS in November 2021, the company allocated free option rights to approximately 300 employees within the AROBS group. 3,040,396 option rights matured in November 2022 and were converted into shares. The company granted the first tranche of shares based on criteria such as seniority of more than one year in the company and exceptional results in the current activity.
AROBS continuously invests in recognizing employees’ contributions to the company’s success and aims to continue to be active in this direction. Thus, in September 2022, AROBS launched the SOP 2 program, already extended to several companies in the Group – UCMS, SASFeet Tracking, AROBS Engineering (formerly Enea Software Development Services), BERG Software, by allocating approximately 35 million option rights under the SOP 2 program. The option rights will be able to be exercised after meeting all applicable conditions. In the next period, the group will continue the buying back process of the shares from the market to supplement the share package for future stages of the SOP program and stabilize the price of the AROBS share. The company intends to continue implementing the SOP program on an annual basis.
In Romania, such a program is still a rarity among companies in all fields and almost non-existent among medium and large companies in the IT industry. In Europe, according to the 2021 annual report published by the European Federation of Employee Share Ownership, approximately 8 million employees own shares in more than 2,800 companies. In the United States, according to the latest data from the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), in 2019, there were approximately 6,500 such programs in place at the company and corporate level, covering approximately 14 million participants. In Romania, as the companies are still at the beginning of the road with this concept, there are no official data related to the number of those who have implemented SOP programs.
SOP programs have a more precise definition in the Fiscal Code as of 2016. They represent a form of rewarding employees and stimulating them to contribute directly to the company’s development, considering that the value of a share increases with company performance. According to studies on this topic, the implementation of an SOP program contributes to increasing the productivity of companies and increasing the rate of attracting new talent.
In addition, implementing such a program benefit both the employer and the employees. On the one hand, the company can reduce its operational expenses and achieve fiscal optimization, allowed by the provisions of the Fiscal Code in force. On the other hand, according to the Fiscal Code, for employees, both the option rights within a Stock Option Plan and the shares obtained following the exercise of these option rights are not considered taxable revenue. They are also exempt from the payment of social contributions. However, investment revenue registered within the Stock Option Plan programs is taxable, so the shares granted under SOP become taxable only when the beneficiary decides to trade them.
AROBS Transilvania Software is listed on the AeRO market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange as of December 6, 2021. The company currently has a market capitalization of approximately 784 million lei.