What Type Of Shareholder Owns Lithium Australia NL’s (ASX:LIT)?

The big shareholder groups in Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) have power over the company. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said ‘Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.

Lithium Australia is a smaller company with a market capitalization of AU$25m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutional investors have not yet purchased much of the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about LIT.

View our latest analysis for Lithium Australia

ASX:LIT Ownership Summary, September 27th 2019
ASX:LIT Ownership Summary, September 27th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Lithium Australia?

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.

Since institutions own under 5% of Lithium Australia, many may not have spent much time considering the stock. But it’s clear that some have; and they liked it enough to buy in. So if the company itself can improve over time, we may well see more institutional buyers in the future. When multiple institutional investors want to buy shares, we often see a rising share price. The past revenue trajectory (shown below) can be an indication of future growth, but there are no guarantees.

ASX:LIT Income Statement, September 27th 2019
ASX:LIT Income Statement, September 27th 2019

We note that hedge funds don’t have a meaningful investment in Lithium Australia. As far I can tell there isn’t analyst coverage of the company, so it is probably flying under the radar.

Insider Ownership Of Lithium Australia

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.

I can report that insiders do own shares in Lithium Australia NL. It has a market capitalization of just AU$25m, and insiders have AU$1.3m worth of shares, in their own names. It is good to see some investment by insiders, but I usually like to see higher insider holdings. It might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public, who are mostly retail investors, collectively hold 80% of Lithium Australia shares. This size of ownership gives retail investors collective power. They can and probably do influence decisions on executive compensation, dividend policies and proposed business acquisitions.

Private Company Ownership

We can see that Private Companies own 9.8%, of the shares on issue. Private companies may be related parties. Sometimes insiders have an interest in a public company through a holding in a private company, rather than in their own capacity as an individual. While it’s hard to draw any broad stroke conclusions, it is worth noting as an area for further research.

Public Company Ownership

It appears to us that public companies own 3.9% of LIT. It’s hard to say for sure, but this suggests they have entwined business interests. This might be a strategic stake, so it’s worth watching this space for changes in ownership.

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.

Many find it useful to take an in depth look at how a company has performed in the past. You can access this detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course this may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free free list of interesting companies.

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.