Do Directors Own AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) Shares?

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The big shareholder groups in AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

AstraZeneca is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of UK£75b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about AZN.

View our latest analysis for AstraZeneca

LSE:AZN Ownership Summary, May 1st 2019
LSE:AZN Ownership Summary, May 1st 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About AstraZeneca?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it’s included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

AstraZeneca already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 84% of the company. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of AstraZeneca, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

LSE:AZN Income Statement, May 1st 2019
LSE:AZN Income Statement, May 1st 2019

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hedge funds don’t have many shares in AstraZeneca. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of AstraZeneca

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of AstraZeneca PLC. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own UK£17m of stock. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 15% stake in AZN. 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.

I always like to check for a history of revenue growth. You can too, by accessing this free chart of historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

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.