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Should You Be Concerned About Rafael Holdings Inc’s (NYSEMKT:RFL) Investors?

Liliana Gabriel

In this article, I’m going to take a look at Rafael Holdings Inc’s (AMEX:RFL) latest ownership structure, a non-fundamental factor which is important, but remains a less discussed subject among investors. The impact of a company’s ownership structure affects both its short- and long-term performance. Differences in ownership structure of companies can have a profound effect on how management’s incentives are aligned with shareholder returns, which is why we’ll take a moment to analyse RFL’s shareholder registry.

See our latest analysis for Rafael Holdings

AMEX:RFL Ownership_summary May 17th 18

Institutional Ownership

With an institutional ownership of 27.48%, RFL can face volatile stock price movements if institutions execute block trades on the open market, more so, when there are relatively small amounts of shares available on the market to trade Although RFL has a high institutional ownership, such stock moves, in the short-term, are more commonly linked to a particular type of active institutional investors – hedge funds. Considering hedge funds hold a stake of 5.53% in the company, RFL shares may experience high short-term volatility as this class of institutions are frequently found to sell significantly during market-wide shocks. I am going to further examine RFL’s ownership structure to check how other major shareholders can affect its investment case.

Insider Ownership

I find insiders are another important group of stakeholders, who are directly involved in making key decisions related to the use of capital. In essence, insider ownership is more about the alignment of shareholders’ interests with the management. RFL insiders hold a significant stake of 17.15% in the company. This level of insider ownership has been found to have a negative impact on companies with consistently low PE ratios (underperformers), while it has been positive in the case of high PE ratio firms (outperformers). It’s also interesting to learn what RFL insiders have been doing with their shareholdings lately. Insiders buying company shares can be a positive indicator of future performance, but a selling decision can simply be driven by personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

A substantial ownership of 49.84% in RFL is held by the general public. This size of ownership gives retail investors collective power in deciding on major policy decisions such as executive compensation, appointment of directors and acquisitions of businesses. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and potential acquisitions. This is a positive sign for an investor who wants to be involved in key decision-making of the company.

Next Steps:

I suggest investors seek some degree of margin of safety due to high institutional ownership in RFL, in particular due to the strong presence of active hedge fund investors. This will allow an investor to reduce the impact of non-fundamental factors, such as volatile block trading impact on their portfolio value. However, ownership structure should not be the only focus of your research when constructing an investment thesis around RFL. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as Rafael Holdings’s past track record and financial health. I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Financial Health: Is RFL’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  2. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

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 pass 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.