Who Really Owns AuStar Gold Limited (ASX:AUL)?

Today, I will be analyzing AuStar Gold Limited’s (ASX:AUL) recent ownership structure, an important but not-so-popular subject among individual investors. The impact of a company’s ownership structure affects both its short- and long-term performance. Differences in ownership structure of companies can have a profound effect on how management’s incentives are aligned with shareholder returns, and whether they adhere to corporate governance best practices. Although this is an important factor for long-term investors, many investors can also be impacted by institutional presence and their high-volume trading. Therefore, it is beneficial for us to examine AUL’s ownership structure in more detail.

Check out our latest analysis for AuStar Gold
ASX:AUL Ownership_summary Feb 27th 18
ASX:AUL Ownership_summary Feb 27th 18

Institutional Ownership

In AUL’s case, institutional ownership stands at 22.10%, significant enough to cause considerable price moves in the case of large institutional transactions, especially when there is a low level of public shares available on the market to trade. Although AUL has a high institutional ownership, such stock moves, in the short-term, are more commonly linked to a particular type of active institutional investors – hedge funds. In the case of AUL, investors need not worry about such volatility considering active hedge funds don’t have a significant stake. However, we should dig deeper into AUL’s ownership structure and find out how other key ownership classes can affect its investment profile.

Insider Ownership

Insiders form another 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. A major group of owners of AUL is individual insiders, sitting with a hefty 18.35% stake in the company. Broadly, insider ownership of this level has been found to negatively affect companies with consistently low PE ratio (underperforming). And a positive impact has been seen on companies with a high PE ratio (outperforming). It’s also interesting to learn what AUL insiders have been doing with their shareholdings lately. 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.
ASX:AUL Insider_trading Feb 27th 18
ASX:AUL Insider_trading Feb 27th 18

General Public Ownership

A substantial ownership of 48.31% in AUL is held by the general public. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in major company policies that affect shareholders returns, including executive remuneration and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.

Private Company Ownership

Another group of owners that a potential investor in AUL should consider are private companies, with a stake of 11.24%. While they invest more often due to strategic interests, an investment can also be driven by capital gains through share price appreciation. An ownership of this size indicates a strong financial backing and has the potential to influence AUL’s business strategy. Thus, investors should dig deeper into AUL’s business relations with these companies and how it can affect shareholder returns in the long-term.

Next Steps:

AUL’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, if you are building an investment case for AUL, ownership structure alone should not dictate your decision to buy or sell the stock. Instead, you should be evaluating company-specific factors such as AuStar Gold’s past track record and financial health. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  • 1. Financial Health: Is AUL’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  • 2. Past Track Record: Has AUL 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 AUL’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.