What Kind Of Investor Owns Most Of Novo Nordisk A/S (CPH:NOVO B)?

Every investor in Novo Nordisk A/S (CPH:NOVO B) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

Novo Nordisk has a market capitalization of ø857b, so it’s too big to fly under the radar. We’d expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Novo Nordisk.

See our latest analysis for Novo Nordisk

CPSE:NOVO B Ownership Summary, March 17th 2020
CPSE:NOVO B Ownership Summary, March 17th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Novo Nordisk?

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.

We can see that Novo Nordisk does have institutional investors; and they hold 30% of the stock. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 Novo Nordisk’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

CPSE:NOVO B Income Statement, March 17th 2020
CPSE:NOVO B Income Statement, March 17th 2020

Novo Nordisk is not owned by hedge funds. Novo Holdings A/S is currently the company’s largest shareholder with 29% of shares outstanding. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the second largest shareholder with 2.1% of common stock, followed by Norges Bank Investment Management, holding 1.8% of the stock.

Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than 50% of the company’s shares, meaning that the company’s shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.

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 Novo Nordisk

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. The company management answer to the board; and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board, themselves.

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.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Novo Nordisk A/S. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own ø193m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 41% stake in NOVO B. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Private Equity Ownership

With a stake of 29%, private equity firms could influence the NOVO B board. 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.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we’ve identified 1 warning sign for Novo Nordisk that you should be aware of.

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.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.