Should You Be Concerned About Veris Limited’s (ASX:VRS) Shareholders?

In this article, I’m going to take a look at Veris Limited’s (ASX:VRS) latest ownership structure, a non-fundamental factor which is important, but remains a less discussed subject among investors. Ownership structure of a company has been found to affect share performance over time. The effect of an active institutional investor with a similar ownership as a passive pension-fund can be vastly different on a company’s corporate governance and accountability to shareholders. While this may be more interesting for long-term investors, short-term investors can also benefit by paying attention to when these institutions trade in order to take advantage of the heightened volatility. Therefore, it is beneficial for us to examine VRS’s ownership structure in more detail.

View our latest analysis for Veris

ASX:VRS Ownership Summary August 1st 18
ASX:VRS Ownership Summary August 1st 18

Institutional Ownership

With an institutional ownership of 26.45%, VRS can face volatile stock price movements if institutions execute block trades on the open market, more so, when there are relatively small amounts of shares available on the market to trade However, as not all institutions are alike, such high volatility events, especially in the short-term, have been more frequently linked to active market participants like hedge funds. In the case of VRS, investors need not worry about such volatility considering active hedge funds don’t have a significant stake. However, we should dig deeper into VRS’s ownership structure and find out how other key ownership classes can affect its investment profile.

Insider Ownership

Insiders form a group of important ownership types as they manage the company’s operations and decide the best use of capital. Insider ownership has been linked to better alignment between management and shareholders. 24.21% ownership of VRS insiders is large enough to make an impact on shareholder returns. In general, this level of insider ownership has negatively affected underperforming (consistently low PE ratio) companies and positively affected the companies that outperform (consistently high PE ratio). Another aspect of insider ownership is to learn about their recent transactions. Insider buying may be a sign of upbeat future expectations, however, selling doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite as insiders may be motivated by their personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a substantial 37.94% stake in VRS, making it a highly popular stock among retail investors. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and potential acquisitions. This is a positive sign for an investor who wants to be involved in key decision-making of the company.

Private Company Ownership

Potential investors in VRS should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 11.39%, who are primarily invested because of strategic and capital gain interests. With this size of ownership in VRS, this ownership class can affect the company’s business strategy. As a result, potential investors should further explore the company’s business relations with these companies and find out if they can affect shareholder returns in the long-term.

Next Steps:

VRS’s considerably high level of institutional ownership calls for further analysis into its margin of safety. This will allow investors to reduce the impact of non-fundamental factors, such as volatile block trading impact on their portfolio value. However, ownership structure should not be the only focus of your research when constructing an investment thesis around VRS. Instead, you should be evaluating company-specific factors such as the intrinsic valuation, which is a key driver of Veris’s share price. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for VRS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for VRS’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has VRS been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of VRS’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.