Could The Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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A look at the shareholders of Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) 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. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Waste Management is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of US$41b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. 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 WM.

Check out our latest analysis for Waste Management

NYSE:WM Ownership Summary February 1st 19
NYSE:WM Ownership Summary February 1st 19

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Waste Management?

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.

Waste Management already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 82% 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It’s therefore worth looking at Waste Management’s earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

NYSE:WM Income Statement Export February 1st 19
NYSE:WM Income Statement Export February 1st 19

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Waste Management is not owned by hedge funds. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Waste Management

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Our information suggests that Waste Management, Inc. insiders own under 1% of the company. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$95m of stock. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

With a 18% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over WM. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

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 like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free .

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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.