What Kind Of Investor Owns Most Of Ferguson plc (LON:FERG)?

Every investor in Ferguson plc (LON:FERG) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

With a market capitalization of UK£15b, Ferguson 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 institutional investors have bought into the company. Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Ferguson.

View 2 warning signs we detected for Ferguson

LSE:FERG Ownership Summary, January 1st 2020
LSE:FERG Ownership Summary, January 1st 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Ferguson?

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.

We can see that Ferguson does have institutional investors; and they hold 60% of the stock. 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 Ferguson’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

LSE:FERG Income Statement, January 1st 2020
LSE:FERG Income Statement, January 1st 2020

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. It looks like hedge funds own 5.1% of Ferguson shares. That’s interesting, because hedge funds can be quite active and activist. Many look for medium term catalysts that will drive the share price higher. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 14% of shares outstanding. With 5.6% and 5.1% of the shares outstanding respectively, FIL Limited and Trian Fund Management, L.P. are the second and third largest shareholders.

Additionally, we found that the top 16 have the combined ownership of 50% in the company, suggesting that no one share holder has significant control over the company.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, It is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock’s expected performance. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Ferguson

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.

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 Ferguson plc in their own names. 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 UK£19m 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

With a 35% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over FERG. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too.

For example, we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for Ferguson which any shareholder or potential investor should be aware of.

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.