Why AC Immune SA’s (NASDAQ:ACIU) Ownership Structure Is Important

Today, I will be analyzing AC Immune SA’s (NASDAQ:ACIU) recent ownership structure, an important but not-so-popular subject among individual investors. A company’s ownership structure is often linked to its share performance in both the long- and short-term. Differences in ownership structure of companies can have a profound effect on how management’s incentives are aligned with shareholder returns, and whether they adhere to corporate governance best practices. Although this is an important factor for long-term investors, many investors can also be impacted by institutional presence and their high-volume trading. Therefore, I will take a look at ACIU’s shareholders in more detail.

Check out our latest analysis for AC Immune

NasdaqGM:ACIU Ownership Summary July 18th 18
NasdaqGM:ACIU Ownership Summary July 18th 18

Institutional Ownership

With an institutional ownership of 20.98%, ACIU can face volatile stock price movements if institutions execute block trades on the open market, more so, when there are relatively small amounts of shares available on the market to trade Although ACIU 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. For shareholders in ACIU, sharp price movements may not be a major concern as active hedge funds hold a relatively small stake in the company. Although this doesn’t necessarily lead to high short-term volatility, we should dig deeper into ACIU’s ownership structure to find how the remaining owner types can affect its investment profile.

Insider Ownership

An important group of shareholders are company insiders. Insider ownership has to do more with how the company is managed and less to do with the direct impact of the magnitude of shares trading on the market. 8.48% ownership makes insiders an important shareholder group. This level of ownership indicates closely aligned interests of shareholders and management. It may be interesting to see what insiders have been doing with their shares lately. Insiders buying shares can be a positive indicator of future performance, but a selling decision can be simply driven by personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

A big stake of 19.23% in ACIU is held by the general public. 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 Equity Ownership

With a stake of 51.31%, private equity firms form another important class of owners in ACIU. With a stake of 51.31%, they can influence ACIU’s key policy decisions. An investor should be encouraged by the ownership of these institutions who are known to be experts in increasing efficiency, improving capital structure and opting for value-accretive policy decisions.

Next Steps:

The company’s high institutional ownership makes margin of safety a very important consideration to existing investors since long bull and bear trends often emerge when these big-ticket investors see a change in long-term potential of the company. This will allow investors to reduce the impact of non-fundamental factors, such as volatile block trading impact on their portfolio value. However, ownership structure should not be the only focus of your research when constructing an investment thesis around ACIU. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as AC Immune’s past track record and financial health. 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 ACIU’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ACIU’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Is ACIU’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  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.