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Notes 21-25

22. Share-based payments

Charges for share-based incentive plans were as follows:

  2007
£m
2006
£m
2005
£m
Share-based payments 62.4 70.9 68.6

Share-based payments comprise charges for stock options and restricted stock awards to employees of the group.

As of 31 December 2007, there was £69.8 million (2006: £58.1 million) of total unrecognised compensation cost related to the Group's restricted stock plans. That cost is expected to be recognised over a weighted-average period of 11 months (2006: 12 months).

Further information on stock options is provided in note 26.

Restricted stock plans

The Group operates a number of equity-settled share incentive schemes, in most cases satisfied by the delivery of stock from one of the Group's ESOP Trusts. The most significant current schemes are as follows:

Renewed Leadership Equity Acquisition Plan (Renewed LEAP)

Under Renewed LEAP, the most senior executives of the Group, including certain executive directors, commit WPP shares ('investment shares') in order to have the opportunity to earn additional WPP shares ('matching shares'). The number of matching shares which a participant can receive at the end of the fixed performance period (five years in the case of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 grants; four years for the 2004 grant) is dependent on the performance (based on the Total Share Owner Return (TSR)) of the Company over that period against a comparator group of other listed communications services companies. The maximum possible number of matching shares for each of the 2007, 2006 and 2005 grants is five shares for each investment share. The 2004 Renewed LEAP plan vested in March 2008 at a match of 2.6 shares for each investment share.

Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIP)

For 2004 and prior years, senior executives of most Group operating companies participated in their respective company's long-term incentive plans, based on the achievement of three-year financial performance targets. These plans operated on a rolling three-year basis. The value of payments earned by executives over each performance period was typically based on the achievement of targeted improvements in the following performance measures over the relevant three-year period:

  • (i) average operating profit or profit before taxation;
  • (ii) average operating margin.

The last significant grant under LTIP vested in March 2007 as the scheme has been superseded by PSA (see below).

Performance Share Awards (PSA)

Grants of stock under PSA are dependent upon annual performance targets, typically based on one or more of: operating profit, profit before taxation and operating margin. Grants are made in the year following the year of performance measurement, and will vest two years after grant date provided the individual concerned is continually employed by the Group throughout this time.

Leaders, Partners and High Potential Group

Stock option grants under the executive stock option plan were not significant in 2007, 2006 or 2005 as the Group made grants of restricted stock (to be satisfied by stock from one of the Group's ESOP trusts) to participants instead. Performance conditions include continued employment over the three-year vesting period.

Valuation methodology

For all of these schemes, the valuation methodology is based upon fair value on grant date, which is determined by the market price on that date or the application of a Black-Scholes model, depending upon the characteristics of the scheme concerned. The assumptions underlying the Black-Scholes model are detailed in note 26, including details of assumed dividend yields. Market price on any given day is obtained from external, publicly available sources.

Market/Non-market conditions

Most share-based plans are subject to non-market performance conditions, such as margin or growth targets, as well as continued employment. The Renewed LEAP scheme is subject to a number of performance conditions, including TSR, a market-based condition.

For schemes without market-based performance conditions, the valuation methodology above is applied and, at each year end, the relevant accrual for each grant is revised, if appropriate, to take account of any changes in estimate of the likely number of shares expected to vest.

For schemes with market-based performance conditions, the probability of satisfying these conditions is assessed at grant date through a statistical model (such as the 'Monte Carlo Model') and applied to the fair value. This initial valuation remains fixed throughout the life of the relevant plan, irrespective of the actual outcome in terms of performance. Where a lapse occurs due to cessation of employment, the cumulative charge taken to date is reversed.

Movement on ordinary shares granted for significant restricted stock plans

  Non-vested
1 January
2007
number
(m)
Granted
number
(m)
Lapsed
number
(m)
Vested
number
(m)
Non-vested
31 December
2007
number
(m)
Renewed LEAP1 2.6 0.6 3.2
Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIP) 3.9 (0.1) (3.8)
Performance Share Awards (PSA) 4.4 3.6 (0.6) (0.1) 7.3
Leaders, Partners and
High Potential Group
6.0 3.0 (0.6) 8.4
Weighted average fair value (pence per share):          
Renewed LEAP1 592p 623p n/a n/a 598p
Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIP) 543p n/a 525p 543p n/a
Performance Share Awards (PSA) 669p 778p 717p 656p 719p
Leaders, Partners and
High Potential Group
616p 648p 616p 570p 628p

Notes

1 The number of shares granted represent the 'investment shares' committed by participants at grant date. The actual number of shares that will vest is dependent on the extent to which the relevant performance criteria are satisfied.

The total fair value of shares vested for all the Group's restricted stock plans during the year ended 31 December 2007 was £31.7 million (2006: £46.7 million, 2005: £17.3 million).