Do Institutions Own Modern Water plc (LON:MWG) Shares?

A look at the shareholders of Modern Water plc (LON:MWG) can tell us which group is most powerful. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. Warren Buffett said that he likes ‘a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people’. So it’s nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.

Modern Water is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of UK£1.6m, which means it wouldn’t have the attention of many institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutions own shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Modern Water.

See our latest analysis for Modern Water

AIM:MWG Ownership Summary, January 21st 2020
AIM:MWG Ownership Summary, January 21st 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Modern Water?

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.

Modern Water already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 60% of the company. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can’t rely on that fact alone, since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Modern Water, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

AIM:MWG Income Statement, January 21st 2020
AIM:MWG Income Statement, January 21st 2020

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 Modern Water. IP Group Plc is currently the company’s largest shareholder with 13% of shares outstanding. With 9.2% and 7.3% of the shares outstanding respectively, Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management Limited and Janus Henderson Group plc are the second and third largest shareholders.

We also observed that the top 7 shareholders account for 51% of the register, with a few smaller shareholders to balance the interests of the larger ones to a certain extent.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. We’re not picking up on any analyst coverage of the stock at the moment, so the company is unlikely to be widely held.

Insider Ownership Of Modern Water

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 information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in Modern Water plc. Insiders have a UK£192k stake in this UK£1.6m business. I would say this shows alignment with shareholders, but it is worth noting that the company is still quite small; some insiders may have founded the business. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 11% stake in MWG. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Private Equity Ownership

Private equity firms hold a 13% stake in MWG. This suggests they can be influential in key policy decisions. Sometimes we see private equity stick around for the long term, but generally speaking they have a shorter investment horizon and — as the name suggests — don’t invest in public companies much. After some time they may look to sell and redeploy capital elsewhere.

Private Company Ownership

Our data indicates that Private Companies hold 4.2%, of the company’s shares. 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 Modern Water better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we’ve discovered 5 warning signs for Modern Water (2 are a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you would prefer check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, backed by strong financial data.

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.

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