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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

March 1, 2016

(Loren Rodgers)

Employee Ownership Firms on the Forbes Largest 100 Privately Held Companies List

Forbes magazine's list of the largest privately held companies (ranked by revenue) includes 10 companies that have some degree of employee ownership, including 6 that are majority-owned by their employees. Retail, especially supermarkets, is the most common industry. Number 9 is Publix Supermarkets, the largest employee ownership company on the list. The companies on the list have a variety of forms of employee ownership, including ESOPs, profit sharing plans, stock purchase plans, and an ownership trust:
RankCompanyBusiness Ownership Plan
9Publix*SupermarketsESOP/stock purchase
15H-E-BSupermarketsProfit sharing plan
28QuiktripConvenience storesESOP
40Hy-VeeSupermarketsProfit sharing
60SheetzConvenience storesESOP
61Graybar*Electrical supplyOwnership trust
64Winco*SupermarketsESOP
70CH2M*EngineeringStock purchase
77Sammons Enterprises*Multiple businessesESOP
82Schreiber Foods*Food productsESOP
* A majority of the company's shares is owned by employees.

Missouri Chamber of Commerce Promotes ESOPs

Tracy King, vice president of governmental affairs of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believes that "When you sell it to your employees you see more growth than a regular business." The chamber saw the experience of Burns & McDowell, which created an ESOP to buy the company when its former parent, Armco Steel, was looking for a buyer. Burns & McDowell is now expanding, and the Missouri chamber is promoting legislation that would encourage other companies to pursue ESOPs. It is seeking to create a coalition of Missouri businesses to promote the passage of the legislation: House Bill 2030, which would provide a 50% income tax deduction for certain sales to ESOPs.

China Continues to Promote Employee Ownership in State-Owned Enterprises

On February 25, China's Xinhua news agency announced 10 steps the government is taking to continue its reform of state-owned enterprises, one of which is to encourage employee stock ownership. As of late last year, China had just over 100 public companies with stock ownership plans. Chinese plans generally require employee contributions to purchase shares.

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