Could The AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

The big shareholder groups in AC Immune SA (NASDAQ:ACIU) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, ‘Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.’

AC Immune is a smaller company with a market capitalization of US$353m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutional investors have bought into the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about ACIU.

See our latest analysis for AC Immune

NasdaqGM:ACIU Ownership Summary, August 27th 2019
NasdaqGM:ACIU Ownership Summary, August 27th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About AC Immune?

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.

We can see that AC Immune does have institutional investors; and they hold 12% of the stock. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. 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 AC Immune’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

NasdaqGM:ACIU Income Statement, August 27th 2019
NasdaqGM:ACIU Income Statement, August 27th 2019

It looks like hedge funds own 15% of AC Immune shares. That worth noting, since hedge funds are often quite active investors, who may try to influence management. Many want to see value creation (and a higher share price) in the short term or medium term. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of AC Immune

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. The company management answer to the board; and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board, themselves.

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.

I can report that insiders do own shares in AC Immune SA. As individuals, the insiders collectively own US$22m worth of the US$353m company. This shows at least some alignment. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 22% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over ACIU. 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 a stake of 44%, private equity firms could influence the ACIU board. Some investors might be encouraged by this, since private equity are sometimes able to encourage strategies that help the market see the value in the company. Alternatively, those holders might be exiting the investment after taking it public.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too.

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 .

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.

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.