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With 79% institutional ownership, Compass Minerals International, Inc. (NYSE:CMP) is a favorite amongst the big guns

A look at the shareholders of Compass Minerals International, Inc. ( NYSE:CMP ) can tell us which group is most powerful. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 79% to be precise, is institutions. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

Because institutional owners have a huge pool of resources and liquidity, their investing decisions tend to carry a great deal of weight, especially with individual investors. As a result, a sizeable amount of institutional money invested in a firm is generally viewed as a positive attribute.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Compass Minerals International.

Check out our latest analysis for Compass Minerals International

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Compass Minerals International?

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.

Compass Minerals International already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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 Compass Minerals International's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Compass Minerals International. Our data shows that Koch Industries, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 17% of shares outstanding after a recent strategic investment. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 14.1% and 9.3%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 50% of the ownership is controlled by the top 14 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

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. 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 Compass Minerals International

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.

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 information suggests that Compass Minerals International, Inc. insiders own under 1% of the company. Keep in mind that it's a big company, and the insiders own US$6.7m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 21% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Compass Minerals International better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Compass Minerals International (including 1 which is concerning) .

If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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