How Much Of American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR) Do Institutions Own?

Every investor in American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR) 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. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

American States Water has a market capitalization of US$3.1b, so it’s too big to fly under the radar. We’d expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it’s seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about American States Water.

Check out our latest analysis for American States Water

NYSE:AWR Ownership Summary, January 10th 2020
NYSE:AWR Ownership Summary, January 10th 2020

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About American States Water?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

We can see that American States Water does have institutional investors; and they hold 75% 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 American States Water’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

NYSE:AWR Income Statement, January 10th 2020
NYSE:AWR Income Statement, January 10th 2020

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. American States Water is not owned by hedge funds. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is BlackRock, Inc. with 16% of shares outstanding. The second largest shareholder with 12%, is The Vanguard Group, Inc., followed by State Street Global Advisors, Inc., with an ownership of 7.5%.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 12 shareholders have a combined ownership of 50% implying that no one share holder has a majority.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of American States Water

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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 some shares in American States Water Company. The insiders have a meaningful stake worth US$39m. Most would see this as a real positive. Most would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board. Still, it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 23% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over AWR. 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:

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.

For example, we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for American States Water which any shareholder or potential investor should be aware of.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter 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.

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.

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