Should You Be Concerned About S&W Seed Company’s (NASDAQ:SANW) Investors?

Today, I will be analyzing S&W Seed Company’s (NASDAQ:SANW) recent ownership structure, an important but not-so-popular subject among individual investors. When it comes to ownership structure of a company, the impact has been observed in both the long-and short-term performance of shares. The same amount of capital coming from an activist institution and a passive mutual fund has different implications on corporate governance, which is a decisive factor for a long-term investor. It also impacts the trading environment of company shares, which is more of a concern for short-term investors. Therefore, it is beneficial for us to examine SANW’s ownership structure in more detail.

View our latest analysis for S&W Seed

NasdaqCM:SANW Ownership Summary August 15th 18
NasdaqCM:SANW Ownership Summary August 15th 18

Institutional Ownership

SANW’s 24.17% institutional ownership seems enough to cause large share price movements in the case of significant share sell-off or acquisitions by institutions, particularly when there is a low level of public shares available on the market to trade. Although SANW has a high institutional ownership, such stock moves, in the short-term, are more commonly linked to a particular type of active institutional investors – hedge funds. Considering hedge funds hold a stake of 46.52% in the company, SANW shares may experience high short-term volatility as this class of institutions are frequently found to sell significantly during market-wide shocks. We should dig deeper into the company’s ownership structure to find how the rest of its ownership structure can impact its investment case.

Insider Ownership

I find insiders are an important group of stakeholders, who are directly involved in making key decisions related to the use of capital. In essence, insider ownership is more about the alignment of shareholders’ interests with the management. SANW insiders hold a not-so-significant 4.17% stake in the company, which somewhat aligns their interests with that of shareholders. However, a higher level of insider ownership has been linked to management executing on high-returning projects instead of expansion projects for the sake of apparent growth. I will also like to check what insiders have been doing recently with their holdings. Insider buying may be a sign of upbeat future expectations, however, selling doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite as insiders may be motivated by their personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a substantial 20.93% stake in SANW, making it a highly popular stock among retail investors. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and potential acquisitions. This is a positive sign for an investor who wants to be involved in key decision-making of the company.

Private Company Ownership

Potential investors in SANW should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 4.21%, 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 SANW’s business strategy. Thus, investors not need worry too much about the consequences of these holdings.

Next Steps:

With significant institutional ownership, including active hedge, existing investors should seek a margin of safety when investing in SANW. This is to 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 SANW. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as the intrinsic valuation, which is a key driver of S&W Seed’s share price. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SANW’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SANW’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has SANW 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 SANW’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.