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Should You Be Concerned About SAExploration Holdings Inc’s (NASDAQ:SAEX) Investors?

Collin Greene

I am going to take a deep dive into SAExploration Holdings Inc’s (NASDAQ:SAEX) most recent ownership structure, not a frequent subject of discussion among individual investors. A company’s ownership structure is often linked to its share performance in both the long- and short-term. Since the effect of an active institutional investor with a similar ownership as a passive pension-fund can be vastly different on a company’s corporate governance and accountability of shareholders, investors should take a closer look at SAEX’s shareholder registry. All data provided is as of the most recent financial year end.

Check out our latest analysis for SAExploration Holdings

NasdaqCM:SAEX Ownership_summary Jan 20th 18

Institutional Ownership

Institutions account for 17.81% of SAEX’s outstanding shares, a significant enough holding to move stock prices if they start buying and selling in large quantities, especially when there are relatively small amounts of shares available on the market to trade. Although SAEX 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. With hedge funds holding a 53.25% stake in the company, its share price can experience heightened volatility. But I also examine other ownership types and their potential impact on SAEX’s 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. 8.72% ownership makes insiders an important shareholder group. This level of stake with insiders indicate highly aligned interests of shareholders and company executives. It may be interesting to see what insiders have been doing with their shares lately. Insiders buying shares can be a positive indicator of future performance, but a selling decision can be simply driven by personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a substantial 19.96% stake in SAEX, making it a highly popular stock among retail investors. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in major company policies that affect shareholders returns, including executive remuneration and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.

Private Company Ownership

Another group of owners that a potential investor in SAEX should consider are private companies, with a stake of 0.26%. While they invest more often due to strategic interests, an investment can also be driven by capital gains through share price appreciation. However, an ownership of this size may be relatively insignificant, meaning that these shareholders may not have the potential to influence SAEX’s business strategy. Thus, investors not need worry too much about the consequences of these holdings.

What this means for you:

I suggest investors seek some degree of margin of safety due to high institutional ownership in SAEX, in particular due to the strong presence of active hedge fund investors. This is to avoid getting trapped in a sustained sell-off that is often observed in stocks with this level of institutional participation. However, if you are building an investment case for SAEX, ownership structure alone should not dictate your decision to buy or sell the stock. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers such as SAExploration Holdings’s past track record and financial health. I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  • 1. Financial Health: Is SAEX’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. Past Track Record: Has SAEX been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of SAEX’s historicals for more clarity.
  • 3. 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.