More than 900 employees at Mitchells & Butlers, the Birmingham-based pub operator, are set to treble their money following maturity of the company's first Save as you Earn scheme.

Around 300 are quids in with payouts worth thousands of pounds from the three-year deal after deciding to sell their shares rather than keep them.

Bought at the option price of £1.69 and sold for £5.86, it means they have enjoyed a £4.17 profit on each share - a return of nearly 250 per cent.

SAYE is common within industry but this is the first for M&B following its demerger from Six Continents in April 2003.

Under the arrangement, employees can set aside a fixed sum of between £5 and £250 of their salary per month for a three or five year period.

When the scheme matures, they have up to six months to buy shares at a price fixed at the beginning of the savings period.

Thus, where a significant share price gain has been achieved at the scheme's maturity - as has happened at M&B - employees can benefit hugely.

Bronagh Kennedy, HR director, said: "We are delighted that so many of our employees have benefited substantially from the significant share price growth achieved over the last three years.

"We firmly believe in encouraging employees at all levels of the business to own shares in order that they have a real stake in the company's success."

Employees can decide either to offload their shares at a profit or keep them as an investment.

Those who put in the maximum £250 per month over the life of the project were due more than £22,000, free from income tax, on disposal.

M&B manager Dulcie Shepherd, who is expecting her second child, is delighted with her bonus.

She said: "With the family growing ever larger, we are extending our house and the profits from the shares will also mean I can take an extra three months' maternity leave, which is wonderful."

Other Mitchells & Butlers employees are planning to spend their cash on luxury holidays and Christmas presents.

One, who has already chosen herself a car, added: "We have one family car, but, with a toddler in tow, owning my own car will give me so much more freedom to get out and about."

M&B has approximately 2,200 pubs across the UK.