It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Cronos Group Inc. (TSE:CRON).
What Is Insider Buying?
It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.
We don't think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. For example, a Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year'.
The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Cronos Group
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider sale was by the Executive Chairman, Michael Gorenstein, for CA$12m worth of shares, at about CA$10.32 per share. So it's clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even slightly below the current price of CA$10.39. When an insider sells below the current price, it suggests that they considered that lower price to be fair. That makes us wonder what they think of the (higher) recent valuation. While insider selling is not a positive sign, we can't be sure if it does mean insiders think the shares are fully valued, so it's only a weak sign. It is worth noting that this sale was 68% of Michael Gorenstein's holding.
In total, Cronos Group insiders sold more than they bought over the last year. You can see the insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!
If you like to buy stocks that insiders are buying, rather than selling, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Insider Ownership of Cronos Group
I like to look at how many shares insiders own in a company, to help inform my view of how aligned they are with insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. It's great to see that Cronos Group insiders own 5.1% of the company, worth about CA$197m. I like to see this level of insider ownership, because it increases the chances that management are thinking about the best interests of shareholders.
So What Does This Data Suggest About Cronos Group Insiders?
The fact that there have been no Cronos Group insider transactions recently certainly doesn't bother us. It's heartening that insiders own plenty of stock, but we'd like to see more insider buying, since the last year of Cronos Group insider transactions don't fill us with confidence. While we like knowing what's going on with the insider's ownership and transactions, we make sure to also consider what risks are facing a stock before making any investment decision. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 2 warning signs with Cronos Group and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.
For the purposes of this article, insiders are those individuals who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.
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