What Type Of Shareholders Own The Most Number of Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO) Shares?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
July 04, 2021
NYSE:MO
Source: Shutterstock

If you want to know who really controls Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Altria Group is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of US$88b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. In the chart below, we can see that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Altria Group.

View our latest analysis for Altria Group

ownership-breakdown
NYSE:MO Ownership Breakdown July 5th 2021

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Altria Group?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Altria Group. 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. 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 Altria Group's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:MO Earnings and Revenue Growth July 5th 2021

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Altria Group. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is Capital Research and Management Company with 8.9% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 8.2% and 7.5%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no single shareholder has a majority.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Altria Group

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.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Altria Group, Inc.. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$60m of stock. 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 39% stake in Altria Group. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Take risks for example - Altria Group has 3 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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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