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Housing In Trouble Over Rahul Yadav’s Gifted Stocks To Employees

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The “maverick” Rahul Yadav may have gone, but troubles haven’t, for the ever-famous-for-all-the-wrong-reasons Housing. Employees who have been waiting to get their hands on the share that they were about to receive after ex-CEO of the company, Rahul Yadav gifted all his shares to employees, have learnt that they will have to be satisfied with phantom stocks.

In May 2014, Rahul Yadav announced to pass on his entire stake of the company, which was around 5 percent, amounting to around Rs. 22 crore, to all of its employees which were about 2,250.

Now, the new management at Housing, after figuring out how to distribute shares to past and present employees, has announced to its staff that the shares of Rahul will be gifted in form of phantom stock units.

Ajay Nair, Housing’s Chief Human Resource Officer, said in an email to employees,

Rather than getting physical stock options, the employee receives a documented understanding with the company. The PSU follows the price movement of the company’s actual stock, paying out any resulting profits when due.

The company sent an email to its employees, in which it has listed few conditions, such as a minimum one year of service and it also takes into account tenure and compensation for calculating how many phantom stocks employees are eligible for.

Thus, the employees, who were to receive Rahul’s shares are enraged, and some have threated to take action. Some reports hints about Housing being in talks for a strategic stake sale, and so existing and former employees are raising questions about the rights vested in these phantom stocks as also the eligibility criteria.

Phantom stock is a contractual agreement between the company and the stock’s recipients that gives right to cash payment at a designated time or in association with a designated event in the future. The payment is to be in an amount tied to the market value of an equivalent number of shares of the company’s stock.

This type of stocks are very rare in a privately held companies.Using this strategy, Housing will also get to retain Yadav’s shares. As per the people familiar with the developments, Housing’s decision to issue phantom stocks was in keeping with a broad understanding the management had with Yadav.

They further revealed that issuing actual shares to all employees would have created tax liabilities for the company and made it a public limited company. Also, former employees couldn’t be issued actual shares as several employees have been laid off and many has resigned from the company.

In an email response to ET, Housing’s spokesperson, said,

The company has not laid down the criteria for determining the intended beneficiaries. It was determined by Rahul and we are only facilitating this. Legally, we cannot redistribute Rahul’s shares. The only legally permissible way to provide the intended benefit of Rahul’s shares to qualifying employees and ex-employees is through the issue of PSUs.

Rahul says that he was not aware of the terms for phantom stocks and who is controlling it now. He says that he gifted all of his shares so that his employees “can afford a house”. Yuup !

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