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Could The Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSE:CVE) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

Simply Wall St
·5 mins read

Every investor in Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSE:CVE) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

With a market capitalization of CA$6.7b, Cenovus Energy is rather large. We'd expect to see institutional investors on the register. Companies of this size are usually well known to retail investors, too. In the chart below, we can see that institutional investors have bought into the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Cenovus Energy.

See our latest analysis for Cenovus Energy

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Cenovus Energy?

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.

Cenovus Energy already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Cenovus Energy, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Cenovus Energy. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is ConocoPhillips with 17% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 9.7% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 7.4% by the third-largest shareholder.

We did some more digging and found that 7 of the top shareholders account for roughly 50% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.

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 Cenovus Energy

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

Our information suggests that Cenovus Energy Inc. insiders own under 1% of the company. It's a big company, so even a small proportional interest can create alignment between the board and shareholders. In this case insiders own CA$14m worth of shares. Arguably, recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 22% stake in the company, will not 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.

Public Company Ownership

It appears to us that public companies own 17% of Cenovus Energy. This may be a strategic interest and the two companies may have related business interests. It could be that they have de-merged. This holding is probably worth investigating further.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Cenovus Energy better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks for example - Cenovus Energy has 2 warning signs (and 1 which is concerning) we think you should know about.

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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

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