What Kind Of Shareholder Owns Most California Water Service Group (NYSE:CWT) Stock?

If you want to know who really controls California Water Service Group (NYSE:CWT), 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 used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

California Water Service Group isn’t enormous, but it’s not particularly small either. It has a market capitalization of US$2.5b, which means it would generally expect to see some institutions on the share registry. 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 California Water Service Group.

Check out our latest analysis for California Water Service Group

NYSE:CWT Ownership Summary, January 28th 2020
NYSE:CWT Ownership Summary, January 28th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About California Water Service Group?

Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.

We can see that California Water Service Group does have institutional investors; and they hold 76% of the stock. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of California Water Service Group, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

NYSE:CWT Income Statement, January 28th 2020
NYSE:CWT Income Statement, January 28th 2020

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. California Water Service Group is not owned by hedge funds. Our data shows that BlackRock, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 16% of shares outstanding. Next, we have The Vanguard Group, Inc. and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. as the second and third largest shareholders, holding 12% and 8.1%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

On further inspection, we found that 50% of the share register is owned by the top 8 shareholders, suggesting that the interests of the larger shareholders are balanced out to an extent by the smaller ones.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of California Water Service Group

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.

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.

Our information suggests that California Water Service Group insiders own under 1% of the company. It is a pretty big company, so it would be possible for board members to own a meaningful interest in the company, without owning much of a proportional interest. In this case, they own around US$21m worth of shares (at current prices). It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 23% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for California Water Service Group 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.

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