News Article

Torch Achieves Long-Time Goal of 100-Percent Employee-Ownership
Date: Jan 12, 2012
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Featured firm in this article: Torch Technologies Inc of Huntsville, AL

Torch Technologies, Inc., today announced the completion of its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) restructuring. The company has repurchased all outstanding stock owned outside the ESOP, which was the final step toward completing the transition to a 100-percent ESOP-owned status. As of Dec. 30, 2011, all shares had been sold back to the ESOP trust, and the company achieved its 10-year goal of 100-percent employee-ownership.

An ESOP is an employee benefit plan that provides company stock to employees. As a 100-percent ESOP-owned company, all Torch company stock is now held in trust by the ESOP exclusively for the benefit of participants and beneficiaries.

The company first formed the ESOP in 2004 as the first step in its plan to repurchase all of its stock and transform itself into an employee-owned company. An ESOP structure creates a market for stock held by the original owners without requiring a sale to outside interests.

"We're very excited to achieve our long-time goal of one-hundred-percent employee ownership," Torch CEO Bill Roark commented. "The key benefit of an ESOP is that it allows employees to participate in the company's growth and success. Every employee has a stake in the outcome. This also means the company has protected its own destiny, committing long-term to the ethics, values and high standards that have created the success of Torch."

An ESOP is a significant retirement benefit and motivation for employees to make the company more successful. Torch also provides employees a 401(k) profit-sharing plan as an additional retirement savings vehicle. Existing Torch management will continue in its current capacity and nothing in the company's day-to-day operations will change.

"This structure allows our employees to focus completely on customer needs, without the concern of ownership structure or potential changes in ownership," Roark continued. "Now, our employees are the owners. When we founded the company in October of 2002, we established a goal of being one-hundred-percent employee-owned within ten years. Our ESOP was established in 2004, and we've been marching steadily toward that goal ever since."

Roark went on, "This gives our employees a level of control over their own destinies that employees at many companies do not enjoy. Full employee ownership will benefit our customers, as well as our employees."

"Many of today's small businesses are acquired by larger corporations as founders seek to retire," he explained. "Jobs are lost, careers are impacted and customers are inconvenienced. The knowledge and talent of those employees may be lost as they find positions with other organizations. We're firm believers that employee-owners are more committed to customer satisfaction than typical employees who do not have a vested stake in the outcome of the company. For that reason and others, we're excited that Torch is now one-hundred-percent employee-owned."