Monday, November 30, 2009

Corporate finance

posted Sat, 01 Jan 2005

I saw in the paper this morning that my company’s stock price had dropped 2.6% over the year.

So much for my stock options.

I do not work in a glamorous high-growth, high-profit industry. My stock options are worth little more than the paper they are printed on. (That’s a great inside joke.) [I worked for International Paper.] Must be why the top executives get stock grants. And why they have decided to stop giving options to people at my level.

The first time I got options, a few years ago, my mother was puzzled. “Why would you buy stock from the company at that price when you could get it cheaper on the open market?”

I explained that the whole point of options was that stock price was supposed to go up, thus making options valuable. But they are rendered moot if the price never changes, or, heaven forbid, drops.

I have options on about 8,000 shares. About 1,200 of those are priced 50% higher than the current stock price. It has been six years since the stock price has been at that level. Those will never be exercised, for sure.

The rest are priced within a dollar or two of the current price. Maybe when I’m vested and can exercise them, they might be worth something.

Maybe. If I don’t leave the company before then.

If it gets really cold, maybe I’ll just use them as fireplace tinder.

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