Profits to dive under share option plan

The survey of 65 major European companies by HSBC also found a further two in five would have to add a charge of more than 5% to their profit and loss account.

In the first study of its kind to be made public, analysts at the banking giant this week published calculations of what companies will lose under controversial proposals issued by the Accounting Standards Board.

Under the plans, companies will charge the cost of issuing shares under share option schemes to their profit and loss accounts. No timescale has been given for their introduction.

In one ‘reasonable worse case’ scenario, Marconi would see its profits plummet by Pounds 129m or 29% a year, the HSBC calculations showed. But it was ARM Holdings that would experience the largest effect. The microprocessor specialist would have to charge an amount equivalent to 110% of its net profit to its p&l account annually.

Other companies set to lose around 10% of profits include ING, Alcatel, Pearson, Reuters and Tesco. British Airways will be hit by a charge of around Pounds 11m, the research said.

No dotcom companies were included in the survey, although it was arguably these companies that brought the issue to the forefront by increasing the popularity of share options as a form of remuneration.


Resistance to share option plan grows

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