Bengaluru: One97 Communications Ltd., which runs the digital payments firm Paytm, said in a stock exchange filing on Monday that it has granted 3.97 million new stock options to employees under the One97 Employees Stock Option Scheme 2019 (‘Esop 2019’).

The company informed the exchanges that the exercise price of these stock options is Rs 9 each.

The stock of One97 Communications was trading at Rs 559.8 per share on Monday morning, down 1.47 percent since the market closed on May 6. Since its initial public offering in November of last year, the One97 stock has plummeted 74% from its IPO price of Rs 2,150 per share.

Furthermore, it has issued 177,114 equity shares to employees who have exercised their options. In its filings, One97 did not identify the individuals who were granted these stock options.

“As a result of the aforementioned allotment, the company’s issued, subscribed, and paid-up equity share capital has increased from approximately 64,85,67,292 (consisting of 64,85,67,292 equity shares of the face value of Rs 1 each) to approximately 64,87,44,406 (consisting of 64,87,44,406 equity shares of the face value of Rs 1 each),” Paytm stated in its filing.

According to regulatory filings, prior to its public market listing in November last year, Paytm granted new Esops to 166 former and current employees, which were then converted into shares of the company.

This included president Amit Nayyar, who was in charge of the Noida-based fintech startup’s financial services division. Nayyar stepped down in June 2021. Over a million Esops were granted to mostly senior staff members at a cost of Rs 9 per exercise.

According to regulatory filings, Paytm more than doubled its Esop pool in September last year, from 24.09 million equity options to 61.09 million options. Prior to the company’s IPO, approximately 1,000 Paytm employees had vested in 14 million stock options.

In an April letter to company shareholders, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma stated that his stock grants would vest only after Paytm’s shares crossed the IPO price on a sustained basis.

According to a February report by Macquarie Research, Sharma received 76 percent of the Esops granted by the company prior to its IPO. In September of last year, ET reported that Sharma, who owns 15% of the company after the IPO, would receive a significant portion of the new stock options.