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A look at the shareholders of Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) can tell us which group is most powerful. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, ‘Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.’
With a market capitalization of AU$32m, Lithium Australia is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions don’t own many shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about LIT.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Lithium Australia?
Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it’s included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.
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. If the company is growing earnings, that may indicate that it is just beginning to catch the attention of these deep-pocketed investors. It is not uncommon to see a big share price rise if multiple institutional investors are trying to buy into a stock at the same time. So check out the historic earnings trajectory, below, but keep in mind it’s the future that counts most.
Hedge funds don’t have many shares 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. 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.
I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.
We can see that insiders own shares in Lithium Australia NL. As individuals, the insiders collectively own AU$2.4m worth of the AU$32m company. This shows at least some alignment, but I usually like to see larger insider holdings. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public — mostly retail investors — own 77% of Lithium Australia . With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies 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
We can see that Private Companies own 7.8%, 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
Public companies currently own 6.0% of LIT stock. We can’t be certain, but this is quite possible this is a strategic stake. The businesses may be similar, or work together.
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.
I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow for free .
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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.