Although Lifeway Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:LWAY) insiders have sold lately, they have the highest ownership with 43% stake
If you want to know who really controls Lifeway Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:LWAY), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. With 43% stake, individual insiders 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).
And insiders own the top position in the company’s share registry despite recent sales.
Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Lifeway Foods.
View our latest analysis for Lifeway Foods
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Lifeway Foods?
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 Lifeway Foods does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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. 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 Lifeway Foods' historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
Lifeway Foods is not owned by hedge funds. The company's largest shareholder is Danone S.A., with ownership of 22%. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 16% and 14%, of the shares outstanding, respectively. Julie Smolyansky, who is the third-largest shareholder, also happens to hold the title of Chairman of the Board.
To make our study more interesting, we found that the top 3 shareholders have a majority ownership in the company, meaning that they are powerful enough to influence the decisions of the company.
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 is some analyst coverage of the stock, but it could still become more well known, with time.
Insider Ownership Of Lifeway Foods
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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.
Our information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in Lifeway Foods, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$104m, and insiders have US$45m worth of shares in their own names. We 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
The general public-- including retail investors -- own 24% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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
It seems that Private Companies own 3.2%, of the Lifeway Foods stock. 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.
Public Company Ownership
It appears to us that public companies own 22% of Lifeway Foods. 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.
I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Lifeway Foods you should know about.
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.
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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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