A look at the shareholders of Sygnia Limited (JSE:SYG) can tell us which group is most powerful. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. 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.
With a market capitalization of R2.8b, Sygnia is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Sygnia.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Sygnia?
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.
We can see that Sygnia does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 Sygnia's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Sygnia. Zatoka Trust is currently the company's largest shareholder with 30% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 30% and 6.6%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.
After doing some more digging, we found that the top 2 shareholders collectively control more than half of the company's shares, implying that they have considerable power to influence the company's decisions.
Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.
Insider Ownership Of Sygnia
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.
Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.
Our most recent data indicates that insiders own a reasonable proportion of Sygnia Limited. Insiders own R1.1b worth of shares in the R2.8b company. This may suggest that the founders still own a lot of shares. You can click here to see if they have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public holds a 11% stake in Sygnia. 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.
Private Company Ownership
We can see that Private Companies own 44%, of the shares on issue. It's hard to draw any conclusions from this fact alone, so its worth looking into who owns those private companies. Sometimes insiders or other related parties have an interest in shares in a public company through a separate private company.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Sygnia better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Sygnia .
Of course this may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free 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.
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