Do Insiders Own Shares In Epigenomics AG (ETR:ECX)?

The big shareholder groups in Epigenomics AG (ETR:ECX) have power over the company. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said ‘Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.

Epigenomics is a smaller company with a market capitalization of €64m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about Epigenomics.

Check out our latest analysis for Epigenomics

XTRA:ECX Ownership Summary May 1st 2020
XTRA:ECX Ownership Summary May 1st 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Epigenomics?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

As you can see, institutional investors own 21% of Epigenomics. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can’t rely on that fact alone, since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. When multiple institutions own a stock, there’s always a risk that they are in a ‘crowded trade’. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Epigenomics’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

XTRA:ECX Income Statement May 1st 2020
XTRA:ECX Income Statement May 1st 2020

It looks like hedge funds own 14% of Epigenomics shares. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. Our data shows that Deutsche Balaton AG is the largest shareholder with 10% of shares outstanding. Next, we have Bridger Management, LLC and ABC Beteiligungen AG as the second and third largest shareholders, holding 8.9% and 5.6%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

On studying the facts and figures more closely, we found that 9 of the top shareholders account for 50% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock’s expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. There is some analyst coverage of the stock, but it could still become more well known, with time.

Insider Ownership Of Epigenomics

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

We can see that insiders own shares in Epigenomics AG. It has a market capitalization of just €64m, and insiders have €4.1m worth of shares, in their own names. This shows at least some alignment, but I usually like to see larger insider holdings. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 40% stake in ECX. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Private Equity Ownership

With an ownership of 10%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.

Private Company Ownership

We can see that Private Companies own 8.2%, of the shares on issue. It’s hard to draw any conclusions from this fact alone, so its worth looking into who owns those private companies. Sometimes insiders or other related parties have an interest in shares in a public company through a separate private company.

Next Steps:

It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Epigenomics better, we need to consider many other factors. Be aware that Epigenomics is showing 6 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those can’t be ignored…

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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