What Is The Ownership Structure Like For Sonoco Products Company (NYSE:SON)?

If you want to know who really controls Sonoco Products Company (NYSE:SON), then you’ll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it’s not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

With a market capitalization of US$5.4b, Sonoco Products is rather large. We’d expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Sonoco Products.

View our latest analysis for Sonoco Products

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NYSE:SON Ownership Breakdown July 28th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Sonoco Products?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it’s included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

Sonoco Products already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It’s therefore worth looking at Sonoco Products’s earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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NYSE:SON Earnings and Revenue Growth July 28th 2020

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Sonoco Products is not owned by hedge funds. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is BlackRock, Inc. with 11% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 11% and 6.4% of the stock.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 50% of the ownership is controlled by the top 17 shareholders, meaning that no one shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

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 are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of Sonoco Products

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

We can see that insiders own shares in Sonoco Products Company. The insiders have a meaningful stake worth US$82m. Most would see this as a real positive. If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, you can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 23% stake in SON. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Be aware that Sonoco Products is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about…

If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

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.

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