With 69% ownership, Watkin Jones Plc (LON:WJG) boasts of strong institutional backing
To get a sense of who is truly in control of Watkin Jones Plc (LON:WJG), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. With 69% stake, institutions possess the maximum shares in the company. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).
Since institutional have access to huge amounts of capital, their market moves tend to receive a lot of scrutiny by retail or individual investors. Hence, having a considerable amount of institutional money invested in a company is often regarded as a desirable trait.
In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Watkin Jones.
View our latest analysis for Watkin Jones
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Watkin Jones?
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.
Watkin Jones already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. 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 Watkin Jones, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Watkin Jones. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is Octopus Investments Limited with 12% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 7.0% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 5.5% by the third-largest shareholder.
Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 52% of the ownership is controlled by the top 12 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. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.
Insider Ownership Of Watkin Jones
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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Watkin Jones Plc in their own names. But they may have an indirect interest through a corporate structure that we haven't picked up on. It appears that the board holds about UK£754k worth of stock. This compares to a market capitalization of UK£238m. We generally like to see a board more invested. However it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.
General Public Ownership
With a 11% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over Watkin Jones. 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.
Private Equity Ownership
With an ownership of 12%, private equity firms are in a position to play a role in shaping corporate strategy with a focus on value creation. 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.
Private Company Ownership
It seems that Private Companies own 6.3%, of the Watkin Jones stock. It might be worth looking deeper into this. If related parties, such as insiders, have an interest in one of these private companies, that should be disclosed in the annual report. Private companies may also have a strategic interest in the company.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Watkin Jones better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Watkin Jones (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
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.
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