A look at the shareholders of ITC Limited (NSE:ITC) 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. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.
With a market capitalization of ₹2.5t, ITC 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 institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about ITC.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About ITC?
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.
ITC already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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 ITC's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
Hedge funds don't have many shares in ITC. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is British American Tobacco p.l.c. with 25% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 16% and 7.9% of the stock.
To make our study more interesting, we found that the top 4 shareholders control more than half of the company which implies that this group has considerable sway over the company's decision-making.
Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.
Insider Ownership Of ITC
The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of ITC Limited in their own names. However, it's possible that insiders might have an indirect interest through a more complex 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 ₹3.6b 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 holds a 21% stake in ITC. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Private Company Ownership
It seems that Private Companies own 4.0%, of the ITC stock. It's hard to draw any conclusions from this fact alone, so its worth looking into who owns those private companies. Sometimes insiders or other related parties have an interest in shares in a public company through a separate private company.
Public Company Ownership
It appears to us that public companies own 25% of ITC. It's hard to say for sure but this suggests they have entwined business interests. This might be a strategic stake, so it's worth watching this space for changes in ownership.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with ITC , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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.
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