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Could Lithium Australia NL's (ASX:LIT) Investor Composition Influence The Stock Price?

Simply Wall St

A look at the shareholders of Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) can tell us which group is most powerful. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Warren Buffett said that he likes 'a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people'. So it's nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.

With a market capitalization of AU$27m, Lithium Australia is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions are not really that prevalent on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about LIT.

See our latest analysis for Lithium Australia

ASX:LIT Ownership Summary, July 28th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Lithium Australia?

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.

Since institutions own under 5% of Lithium Australia, many may not have spent much time considering the stock. But it's clear that some have; and they liked it enough to buy in. So if the company itself can improve over time, we may well see more institutional buyers in the future. When multiple institutional investors want to buy shares, we often see a rising share price. The past revenue trajectory (shown below) can be an indication of future growth, but there are no guarantees.

ASX:LIT Income Statement, July 28th 2019

Lithium Australia is not owned by hedge funds. We're not picking up on any analyst coverage of the stock at the moment, so the company is unlikely to be widely held.

Insider Ownership Of Lithium Australia

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. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

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.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in Lithium Australia NL. As individuals, the insiders collectively own AU$2.0m worth of the AU$27m company. It is good to see some investment by insiders, but I usually like to see higher insider holdings. It might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public, mostly retail investors, hold a substantial 78% stake in LIT, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. This size of ownership gives retail investors collective power. They can and probably do influence decisions on executive compensation, dividend policies and proposed business acquisitions.

Private Company Ownership

Our data indicates that Private Companies hold 7.4%, of the company's shares. 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

Public companies currently own 5.4% of LIT stock. 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.

Next Steps:

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.

I always like to check for a history of revenue growth. You can too, by accessing this free chart of historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

If you would prefer check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, backed by strong financial data.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.