Why Immutep Limited’s (ASX:IMM) Ownership Structure Is Important

I am going to take a deep dive into Immutep Limited’s (ASX:IMM) most recent ownership structure, not a frequent subject of discussion among individual investors. Ownership structure of a company has been found to affect share performance over time. 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 IMM’s ownership structure in more detail.

See our latest analysis for Immutep

ASX:IMM Ownership Summary August 16th 18
ASX:IMM Ownership Summary August 16th 18

Institutional Ownership

In IMM’s case, institutional ownership stands at 18.14%, 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. These moves, at least in the short-term, are generally observed in an institutional ownership mix comprising of active stock pickers, in particular levered hedge funds, which can cause large price swings. In the case of IMM, investors need not worry about such volatility considering active hedge funds don’t have a significant stake. However, we should dig deeper into IMM’s ownership structure and find out how other key ownership classes can affect its investment profile.

Insider Ownership

An important group of shareholders are company insiders. Insider ownership has to do more with how the company is managed and less to do with the direct impact of the magnitude of shares trading on the market. IMM insiders are also influential stakeholders with 5.09% ownership in the company. An insider stake of this level indicates that executives are highly aligned with the shareholders as both stand to gain when the value of the company rises. It may be interesting to see what insiders have been doing with their shares lately. Insiders buying shares can be a positive indicator of future performance, but a selling decision can be simply driven by personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

A substantial ownership of 74.40% in IMM 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

Potential investors in IMM should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 2.37%, who are primarily invested because of strategic and capital gain interests. However, an ownership of this size may be relatively insignificant, meaning that these shareholders may not have the potential to influence IMM’s business strategy. Thus, investors not need worry too much about the consequences of these holdings.

Next Steps:

IMM’s considerably high level of institutional ownership calls for further analysis into its margin of safety. This is to avoid getting trapped in a sustained sell-off that is often observed in stocks with this level of institutional participation. However, ownership structure should not be the only determining factor when you’re building an investment thesis for IMM. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as Immutep’s past track record and financial health. 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 IMM’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for IMM’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has IMM 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 IMM’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.