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Do Directors Own Mitchell Services Limited (ASX:MSV) Shares?

Luis Baughman

The big shareholder groups in Mitchell Services Limited (ASX:MSV) 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.’

Mitchell Services is a smaller company with a market capitalization of AU$69m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see 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 MSV.

See our latest analysis for Mitchell Services

ASX:MSV Ownership Summary December 24th 18

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Mitchell Services?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors own 17% of Mitchell Services. 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 Mitchell Services’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

ASX:MSV Income Statement Export December 24th 18

Hedge funds don’t have many shares in Mitchell Services. We’re not picking up on any analyst coverage of the stock at the moment, so the company is unlikely to be widely held.

Insider Ownership Of Mitchell Services

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. 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.

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.

It seems insiders own a significant proportion of Mitchell Services Limited. Insiders have a AU$19m stake in this AU$69m business. 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 37% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over MSV. 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 Equity Ownership

With a stake of 6.1%, private equity firms could influence the MSV board. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.

Public Company Ownership

It appears to us that public companies own 11% of MSV. It’s hard to say for sure, but this suggests they have entwined business interests. This might be a strategic stake, so it’s worth watching this space for changes in ownership.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.

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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.