One97 Communications, parent company of Paytm, has granted 3.97 million stock options to its employees, primarily senior employees, at an exercise price of Rs 9 per share, even when the share prices were dropping.
With Paytm having closed at Rs 556 per share on 9 May 2022, the ESOPs are worth Rs 220.7 crore. On that day, the shares had actually closed lower. In fact, 2.11 per cent lower.
The Noida-based fintech company revealed that it has also allotted over 1,17,000 shares to staff members who exercised their options.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder and chief of the Company has reportedly said that his stock grants will vest only when Paytm’s market cap crosses the IPO levels in a sustained manner.
Sharma is also confident that the Company will operate EBITDA breakeven by the quarter ending September 2023, which is much earlier than estimated. He also said that this would happen without affecting the firm’s growth plans.
The Company’s scheme includes provisions for dealing with the options in case of retirement, resignation, termination, death, permanent incapacity and abandonment.
Till now, the fintech firm has lost about 70 per cent of its IPO value, mainly due to the volatility of the market, globally, especially for high-growth stocks.
In November 2021, following the Company’s $2.5 billion IPO, about 350 former and current staff members of Paytm were expected to become millionaires, with their net worth being at least Rs 1 crore.