Roadchef employees win lost shares battle

02 February 2015
Roadchef employees win lost shares battle

Hundreds of employees of the motorway catering firm Roadchef are in line to receive thousands of pounds after settling a dispute over share options.

The dispute dates back to the 1990s, when then-managing director Patrick Gee allocated 20% of the company's shares to staff.

However, Gee died before the scheme was completed. His successor Timothy Ingram Hill made almost £27m when Roadchef was bought in 1998, and he was accused of improperly acquiring the shares, disregarding Gee's wishes.

A High Court ruling in January 2014 determined that Ingram Hill had breached his fiduciary duty to Roadchef employees, although there was no suggestion that he had acted illegally, according to the BBC.

Gee had planned to set-up a John Lewis-style share-ownership scheme at Roadchef in 1986 but died a few months later and left the project in Ingram Hill's hands.

Years later, Ingram Hill - through a trust - bought a large amount of Roachef shares from the employee share scheme.

However both he and Roadchef employees appealed elements of the judge's 2014 decision and an out-of-court settlement has subsequently been reached.

"We've been told numerous times over the past 20 years that the case was ‘undoable' but we believed in it," said Capital Law's Chris Nott, who acted on behalf of the Roadchef workers.

"It'll be pleasing to the thousands of ordinary people who stand to benefit that our persistence has paid off."

The terms of the settlement are confidential, and beneficiaries are now in negotiations with HMRC over how much tax they must pay.

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