Could The Stantec Inc. (TSE:STN) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
June 10, 2021
TSX:STN
Source: Shutterstock

The big shareholder groups in Stantec Inc. (TSE:STN) have power over the company. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

With a market capitalization of CA$6.0b, Stantec is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Stantec.

See our latest analysis for Stantec

ownership-breakdown
TSX:STN Ownership Breakdown June 10th 2021

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Stantec?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Stantec. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. When multiple institutions own a stock, there's always a risk that they are in a 'crowded trade'. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Stantec's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
TSX:STN Earnings and Revenue Growth June 10th 2021

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Stantec. The company's largest shareholder is Jarislowsky, Fraser Limited, with ownership of 11%. With 8.1% and 6.9% of the shares outstanding respectively, Mackenzie Financial Corporation and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec are the second and third largest shareholders.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 50% of the ownership is controlled by the top 16 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Stantec

The definition of company insiders can be subjective and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. 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.

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.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Stantec Inc. in their own names. It's a big company, so even a small proportional interest can create alignment between the board and shareholders. In this case insiders own CA$32m worth of shares. Arguably, recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 28% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Stantec better, we need to consider many other factors.

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.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter future.

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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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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Simply Wall St is focused on providing unbiased, high-quality research coverage on every listed company in the world. Our research team consists of data scientists and multiple equity analysts with over two decades worth of financial markets experience between them.