Do Institutions Own Novartis AG (VTX:NOVN) Shares?

A look at the shareholders of Novartis AG (VTX:NOVN) can tell us which group is most powerful. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Novartis has a market capitalization of CHF187b, so it’s too big to fly under the radar. We’d expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about NOVN.

See our latest analysis for Novartis

SWX:NOVN Ownership Summary, April 14th 2019
SWX:NOVN Ownership Summary, April 14th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Novartis?

Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.

As you can see, institutional investors own 44% of Novartis. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 Novartis’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

SWX:NOVN Income Statement, April 14th 2019
SWX:NOVN Income Statement, April 14th 2019

Hedge funds don’t have many shares in Novartis. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Novartis

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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Our information suggests that Novartis AG insiders own under 1% of the company. We do note, however, it is possible insiders have an indirect interest through a private company or other corporate structure. As it is a large company, we’d only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it’s worth noting that they own CHF217m worth of shares. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 50% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Private Company Ownership

We can see that Private Companies own 3.4%, of the shares on issue. Private companies may be related parties. Sometimes insiders have an interest in a public company through a holding in a private company, rather than in their own capacity as an individual. While it’s hard to draw any broad stroke conclusions, it is worth noting as an area for further research.

Next Steps:

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

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free .

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.