NCR to give employees stock option

NCR Japan Ltd., a subsidiary of U.S.-based NCR Corp., announced Jan. 28 that it will introduce a “stock option” incentive program for its employees, becoming the first Japanese listed firm to offer such a program.The company’s 3,200 workers will be given the right to purchase 90 shares of its parent firm, NCR Corp., for $3,009. They can execute the right between January 1998 and December 2001, according to the firm.The move is part of NCR Corp.’s WorldShares Program, which was instituted for its 38,600 workers worldwide to celebrate the firm’s Jan. 2 listing on the New York Stock Exchange, following NCR’s separation from AT&T Corp. Under the program, employees will be able to choose from three options, including whether to cash in the stocks immediately or save them for the future.An NCR Japan spokesman said the Finance Ministry sees no problem in introducing the system. He said the purchasing will be taken as ordinary securities transactions.Many people say that giving stock options is an effective way to encourage employees to work toward improving their firm’s performance. But it is difficult for Japanese companies to introduce the system because the government bans the practice on the grounds that the so-called “treasury shares” could be used to manipulate stock prices.