Could The Cyanotech Corporation (NASDAQ:CYAN) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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Every investor in Cyanotech Corporation (NASDAQ:CYAN) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it’s not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Warren Buffett said that he likes ‘a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people’. So it’s nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.

Cyanotech is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$16m, which means it wouldn’t have the attention of many institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about CYAN.

See our latest analysis for Cyanotech

NasdaqCM:CYAN Ownership Summary, July 15th 2019
NasdaqCM:CYAN Ownership Summary, July 15th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Cyanotech?

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.

Cyanotech already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 37% of the company. 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Cyanotech, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

NasdaqCM:CYAN Income Statement, July 15th 2019
NasdaqCM:CYAN Income Statement, July 15th 2019

Hedge funds don’t have many shares in Cyanotech. Our information suggests that there isn’t any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of Cyanotech

The definition of company insiders can be subjective, and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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 insiders maintain a significant holding in Cyanotech Corporation. Insiders own US$2.6m worth of shares in the US$16m company. I would say this shows alignment with shareholders, but it is worth noting that the company is still quite small; some insiders may have founded the business. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 34% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over CYAN. 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.

Private Equity Ownership

With an ownership of 14%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. Sometimes we see private equity stick around for the long term, but generally speaking they have a shorter investment horizon and — as the name suggests — don’t invest in public companies much. After some time they may look to sell and redeploy capital elsewhere.

Next Steps:

It’s always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Cyanotech better, we need to consider many other factors.

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 .

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.