Stock Analysis

Institutional investors are Southwestern Energy Company's (NYSE:SWN) biggest bettors and were rewarded after last week's US$574m market cap gain

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NYSE:SWN
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To get a sense of who is truly in control of Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 84% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

And things are looking up for institutional investors after the company gained US$574m in market cap last week. The gains from last week would have further boosted the one-year return to shareholders which currently stand at 44%.

Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Southwestern Energy.

Our analysis indicates that SWN is potentially undervalued!

ownership-breakdown
NYSE:SWN Ownership Breakdown November 26th 2022

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Southwestern Energy?

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.

We can see that Southwestern Energy does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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. 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 Southwestern Energy's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:SWN Earnings and Revenue Growth November 26th 2022

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Southwestern Energy is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 10% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 8.6% and 7.9% of the stock.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 51% of the ownership is controlled by the top 15 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

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. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Southwestern Energy

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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.

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 Southwestern Energy Company insiders own under 1% of the company. It's a big company, so even a small proportional interest can create alignment between the board and shareholders. In this case insiders own US$48m worth of shares. 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-- including retail investors -- own 15% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Southwestern Energy better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks for example - Southwestern Energy has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

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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