Employees of Erste Bank Group purchased 663,349 shares, under the Employee Stock Option Programme (ESOP) 2007. The offer price was set at a 20% discount to the average share price in April 2007. Under the current management options programmes (MSOP 2002 and 2005) 308,591 shares were purchased. Shares purchased under the programmes have 1 year lockup, while shares from the ESOP have to be held for a total of 5 years for tax purposes. The related capital increase, from contingent capital, involved a total issuance of 971,940 new shares.
Trading in the new shares will start today, in Vienna and Prague. Employees and management of Erste Bank currently hold some 3% of the shares in the company.
Our view: We do not expect the news to have any substantial impact on the stock trading, given that both stock option programmes are broadly anticipated by the market and the lockup period.