27 August 2010 by Matthew Miller

EMI share option schemes

Statistics recently released by HM Revenue & Customs show that the number of Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) share options that were granted and/or exercised in the 2008/2009 tax year declined substantially. It is expected that the equivalent statistics for the 2009/2010 tax year will show a continued marked decline.

EMI share options, introduced through Gordon Brown’s budget of 2000 (and the subsequent Finance Acts), benefit from very favourable tax treatment and are primarily designed for use by smaller (i.e. private, not public) independent higher-risk companies in order to help them attract, recruit and retain high quality senior employees.

But in contrast to the trend over the last couple of tax years, during which time we advised on only two EMI share option plans, as we near the end of the first half of this tax year, we have already set up an EMI share option plan for one client and we are at various stages of advising six more clients on their proposals to grant EMI share options. Nothing for ages, then a whole load come along, all at once. Sound familiar?

Whether this is all just a ‘blip’, or indicative of a general trend, who knows? Only time will tell. But what we can say for sure is that a number of our corporate clients are feeling sufficiently positive about the future, and their plans for growth, to be offering equity incentives to a range of key employees. I for one take that as a good sign. All aboard.

6 August 2010 by Matthew Miller

Pre-packs: the lesser of two evils?

Pre-packs have been in the news a fair bit during the recent economic downturn. A pre-packaged sale in administration, or “pre-pack”, is a sale of all, or part, of the business/assets of an insolvent company negotiated immediately before the company goes into administration and completed as soon as the administrator is appointed. Usually the sale is not approved by the creditors of the insolvent company or the court.

20 August 2010 by Sarah Davies

How full is your glass

The recession, the economic downturn, repossessions, it's all been doom and gloom for the UK property market for some time now but is there any sign of any improvement? If you read the news at the moment recent figures have shown that house prices have fallen again in August for the second month running with predictions for the rest of the year indicating a continued decline.

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