The considerable ownership by retail investors in Bega Cheese indicates that they collectively have a greater say in management and business strategy
50% of the business is held by the top 17 shareholders
To get a sense of who is truly in control of Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. With 45% stake, retail investors possess the maximum shares in the company. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).
Meanwhile, institutions make up 38% of the company’s shareholders. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies.
In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Bega Cheese.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Bega Cheese?
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.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Bega Cheese. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Bega Cheese, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Hedge funds don't have many shares in Bega Cheese. The company's largest shareholder is John Forrest, with ownership of 11%. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 6.2% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 5.0% by the third-largest shareholder.
Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 50% of the ownership is controlled by the top 17 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.
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 Bega Cheese
The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in Bega Cheese Limited. It has a market capitalization of just AU$889m, and insiders have AU$128m worth of shares in their own names. It is great to see insiders so invested in the business. It might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying recently.
General Public Ownership
The general public-- including retail investors -- own 45% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Bega Cheese better, we need to consider many other factors.
I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.
If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.
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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.