Since 2001, Henkel has offered an employee share program (ESP). For each euro invested in 2012 by an employee (limited to 4 percent of salary up to a maximum of 4,992 euros per year), Henkel added an additional 33 euro cents. Around 11,000 employees in 54 countries purchased Henkel preferred shares under this program in 2012. At year-end, some 14,500 employees held a total of close to 3.2 million shares, representing approximately 1.7 percent of total preferred shares outstanding. The vesting period for newly acquired ESP shares is three years.
Investing in Henkel shares through participation in our share program has proven to be very beneficial for our employees in the past. Employees who invested 100 euros each month in Henkel shares since the program was first launched, and waived interim payouts, held portfolios valued at 42,935 euros at the end of 2012. This represents an increase in value of 225 percent or an average yield of 12 percent per year.