Could The TAG Oil Ltd (TSE:TAO) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

The big shareholder groups in TAG Oil Ltd (TSE:TAO) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. 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.’

TAG Oil is a smaller company with a market capitalization of CA$32m, 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. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about TAO.

See our latest analysis for TAG Oil

TSX:TAO Ownership Summary November 9th 18
TSX:TAO Ownership Summary November 9th 18

What Does The Lack Of Institutional Ownership Tell Us About TAG Oil?

Small companies that are not very actively traded often lack institutional investors, but it’s less common to see large companies without them.

There could be various reasons why no institutions own shares in a company. Typically, small, newly listed companies don’t attract much attention from fund managers, because it would not be possible for large fund managers to build a meaningful position in the company. On the other hand, it’s always possible that professional investors are avoiding a company because they don’t think it’s the best place for their money. Institutional investors may not find the historic growth of the business impressive, or there might be other factors at play. You can see the past revenue performance of TAG Oil, for yourself, below.

TSX:TAO Income Statement Export November 9th 18
TSX:TAO Income Statement Export November 9th 18

We note that hedge funds don’t have a meaningful investment in TAG Oil. While there is some analyst coverage, the company is probably not widely covered. So it could gain more attention, down the track.

Insider Ownership Of TAG Oil

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. 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.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

We can see that insiders own shares in TAG Oil Ltd. It has a market capitalization of just CA$32m, and insiders have CA$2m worth of shares, in their own names. Some would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board, though I generally prefer to see bigger insider holdings. But it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public — mostly retail investors — own 75% of TAG Oil . 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

It seems that Private Companies own 19%, of the TAO stock. It might be worth looking deeper into this. If related parties, such as insiders, have an interest in one of these private companies, that should be disclosed in the annual report. Private companies may also have a strategic interest in the company.

Next Steps:

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

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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.