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Employee Engagement

Staff at US yoghurt maker Chobani will receive a share of a 10% stake in the yoghurt maker, the company’s founder has announced. While shares are commonly granted to staff in start-up technology firms, it is an unusual move for a food company.

The shares will be distributed among Chobani’s 2,000 employees worldwide. The award will be based on how long an employee has been at the firm. For some the shares could, reportedly, be worth millions of dollars.

Staff will not know how exactly much their shares are worth until the company is given a value, which would happen if it is sold, or sells shares on the stock market.

Chobani would not comment on whether it is considering either of those options. However, the company is estimated to have a value of several billion dollars.

Hamdi Ulukaya, who founded the company in 2005, made the announcement at Chobani’s plant in upstate New York.

“This isn’t a gift. It’s a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility. To continue to create something special and of lasting value,” he told staff.

Investment firm TPG Capital is due to buy a 20% stake in Chobani and has loaned it $750m.

The arrangement with TPG Capital was reached in 2014 as part of a deal to prevent the company from falling into bankruptcy. TPG’s stake will be allocated after employees are given their 10% share of the company.

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