Breaking Down ECSC Group plc’s (LON:ECSC) Ownership Structure

Today, I will be analyzing ECSC Group plc’s (AIM:ECSC) recent ownership structure, an important but not-so-popular subject among individual investors. The impact of a company’s ownership structure affects both its short- and long-term performance. Differences in ownership structure of companies can have a profound effect on how management’s incentives are aligned with shareholder returns, and whether they adhere to corporate governance best practices. Although this is an important factor for long-term investors, many investors can also be impacted by institutional presence and their high-volume trading. Therefore, I will take a look at ECSC’s shareholders in more detail.

Check out our latest analysis for ECSC Group
AIM:ECSC Ownership_summary Apr 16th 18
AIM:ECSC Ownership_summary Apr 16th 18

Institutional Ownership

ECSC’s 38.72% institutional ownership seems enough to cause large share price movements in the case of significant share sell-off or acquisitions by institutions, particularly when there is a low level of public shares available on the market to trade. These moves, at least in the short-term, are generally observed in an institutional ownership mix comprising of active stock pickers, in particular levered hedge funds, which can cause large price swings. For shareholders in ECSC, sharp price movements may not be a major concern as active hedge funds hold a relatively small stake in the company. Although this doesn’t necessarily lead to high short-term volatility, we should dig deeper into ECSC’s ownership structure to find how the remaining owner types can affect its investment profile.

Insider Ownership

Another important group of shareholders are company insiders. Insider ownership has to do more with how the company is managed and less to do with the direct impact of the magnitude of shares trading on the market. 54.76% ownership of ECSC insiders is large enough to make an impact on shareholder returns. In general, this level of insider ownership has negatively affected underperforming (consistently low PE ratio) companies and positively affected the companies that outperform (consistently high PE ratio). It may be interesting to take a look at what company insiders have been doing with their holdings lately. Insider buying may be a sign of upbeat future expectations, however, selling doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite as insiders may be motivated by their personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with 6.52% stake, is also an important group of shareholders in ECSC. This size of ownership, while considerably large for a public company, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Next Steps:

The company’s high institutional ownership makes margin of safety a very important consideration to existing investors since long bull and bear trends often emerge when these big-ticket investors see a change in long-term potential of the company. This will enable shareholders to comfortably invest in the company while avoid getting trapped in a sustained sell-off that is often observed in stocks with this level of institutional participation. However, if you are building an investment case for ECSC, ownership structure alone should not dictate your decision to buy or sell the stock. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as ECSC Group’s past track record and financial health. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  • 1. Financial Health: Is ECSC’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  • 2. Past Track Record: Has ECSC been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of ECSC’s historicals for more clarity.
  • 3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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.