I am going to take a deep dive into Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (NYSE:XOM) most recent ownership structure, not a frequent subject of discussion among individual investors. A company’s ownership structure is often linked to its share performance in both the long- and short-term. Different types of investors can have varying degrees of influence on a company’s management team. For example, an active institutional investor may be more likely to hold a company accountable for certain actions whereas a passive fund will move in and out of stocks without regards to corporate governance. The implications of these institutions’ actions can either benefit or hinder individual investors, so it is important to understand the ownership composition of your stock investment. Therefore, I will take a look at XOM’s shareholders in more detail.
Institutional OwnershipIn XOM’s case, institutional ownership stands at 54.2%, significant enough to cause considerable price moves in the case of large institutional transactions, especially when there is a low level of public shares available on the market to trade. However, as not all institutions are alike, such high volatility events, especially in the short-term, have been more frequently linked to active market participants like hedge funds. In the case of XOM, investors need not worry about such volatility considering active hedge funds don’t have a significant stake. However, we should dig deeper into XOM’s ownership structure and find out how other key ownership classes can affect its investment profile.
Insider OwnershipInsiders form a group of important ownership types as they manage the company’s operations and decide the best use of capital. Insider ownership has been linked to better alignment between management and shareholders. A stake of less than 1% in XOM is relatively small, though at least there is still some alignment of interest with shareholders. A higher level of insider ownership has been found to reflect the choosing of projects with higher return on investments compared to lower returning projects for the sake of expansion. It would also be interesting to check what insiders have been doing with their shareholding recently. Insider buying can be a positive indicator of future performance, but a selling decision can be simply driven by personal financial requirements.
General Public OwnershipThe general public holds a substantial 45.6% stake in XOM, making it a highly popular stock among retail investors. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in major company policies that affect shareholders returns, including executive remuneration and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.
Private Company OwnershipPotential investors in XOM should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 0.0001%, who are primarily invested because of strategic and capital gain interests. However, an ownership of this size may be relatively insignificant, meaning that these shareholders may not have the potential to influence XOM’s business strategy. Thus, investors not need worry too much about the consequences of these holdings.
XOM’s considerably high level of institutional ownership calls for further analysis into its margin of safety. 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, ownership structure should not be the only focus of your research when constructing an investment thesis around XOM. Instead, you should be evaluating company-specific factors such as the intrinsic valuation, which is a key driver of Exxon Mobil’s share price. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for XOM’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for XOM’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has XOM 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 XOM’s historicals for more clarity.
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.