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HARMONY Gold has launched its employee share ownership plan which will see about 33,000 employees participating in a direct ownership of the company.
The plan is an equity-settled share incentive and share appreciation rights scheme, in terms of which 4,288,000 ordinary shares in the share capital of the company at par value and 8,576,000 share appreciation rights have been offered to these 33,000 Harmony employees.
Harmony chief executive Graham Briggs said the plan recognises the importance of the employees who sustain its business.
"They are our 'human gold'. This plan not only benefits our employees, but has also demonstrated the company's relationships with unions.
Frans Baleni, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, is pleased with the outcome of Harmony's share process.
"NUM believes each and every employee at Harmony to be deserving of a portion of the success to which they contribute," he said.
He also said that it was time that due recognition was provided for the contributions of its members.
Based on the number of shares in issue on December 31 2011, the Harmony shares available for issue in terms of the plan may account for ownership of about 2.9% of the company. Harmony's black economic empowerment status is thus further enhanced.
In 2010, Harmony first engaged with NUM, UASA and Solidarity over the proposed plan, offering a minimum of 100 ordinary shares per employee at full market value, vesting in equal annual amounts of 20 shares over a five-year period.
The company also offered to allocate a minimum of 200 share appreciation rights per employee at market value, vesting in equal annual amounts of 40 share appreciation rights over a five-year period.
The proposed plan was approved by Harmony shareholders in December 2010 via the Harmony Employees' Share Trust.
The plan was amended and approved by shareholders in December 2011.
Compensation Technologies has been appointed as administrator of the scheme.
The scheme will be overseen by the Tlhakanelo Employee Share Trust, the trustees of which will comprise both management and union representatives.