Why Bellatrix Exploration Ltd’s (TSE:BXE) Ownership Structure Is Important

I am going to take a deep dive into Bellatrix Exploration Ltd’s (TSE:BXE) most recent ownership structure, not a frequent subject of discussion among individual investors. When it comes to ownership structure of a company, the impact has been observed in both the long-and short-term performance of shares. If an activist institution invests the same amount of capital in a stock as a passive long-term pension fund, the implications are potentially different for key corporate financing decisions such as the use of excess cash or the source of financing. While these are more of a long-term investor’s concern, short-term investors may find the impact of institutional trading overwhelming enough to lose out on what could be a potential opportunity. Therefore, I will take a look at BXE’s shareholders in more detail.

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TSX:BXE Ownership Summary August 2nd 18
TSX:BXE Ownership Summary August 2nd 18

Institutional Ownership

Institutions account for 14.36% of BXE’s outstanding shares, a significant enough holding to move stock prices if they start buying and selling in large quantities, especially when there are relatively small amounts of shares available on the market to trade. However, as not all institutions are alike, such high volatility events, especially in the short-term, have been more frequently linked to active market participants like hedge funds. With hedge funds holding a 6.08% stake in the company, its share price can experience heightened volatility. I am going to further examine BXE’s ownership structure to check how other major shareholders can affect its investment case.

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. BXE insiders hold a not-so-significant 1.70% stake in the company, which somewhat aligns their interests with that of shareholders. However, a higher level of insider ownership has been linked to management executing on high-returning projects instead of expansion projects for the sake of apparent growth. In addition to this, it may be interesting to look at insider buying and selling activities. Keep in mind that buying may be sign of upbeat future expectations, but selling doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite as the insiders might just be doing it out of their personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

A substantial ownership of 77.85% in BXE is held by the general public. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and potential acquisitions. This is a positive sign for an investor who wants to be involved in key decision-making of the company.

Next Steps:

I suggest investors seek some degree of margin of safety due to high institutional ownership in BXE, in particular due to the strong presence of active hedge fund investors. This may enable shareholders to comfortably invest in the company and 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 BXE. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as Bellatrix Exploration’s past track record and financial health. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BXE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BXE’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has BXE 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 BXE’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.