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Could The Spirit MTA REIT (NYSE:SMTA) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

Simply Wall St

Every investor in Spirit MTA REIT (NYSE:SMTA) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

With a market capitalization of US$370m, Spirit MTA REIT is a small cap stock, so it might not be well known by many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about SMTA.

Check out our latest analysis for Spirit MTA REIT

NYSE:SMTA Ownership Summary, August 16th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Spirit MTA REIT?

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.

Spirit MTA REIT already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 61% of 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 Spirit MTA REIT, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

NYSE:SMTA Income Statement, August 16th 2019

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Our data indicates that hedge funds own 16% of Spirit MTA REIT. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. 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 Spirit MTA REIT

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Spirit MTA REIT in their own names. It appears that the board holds about US$3.6m worth of stock. This compares to a market capitalization of US$370m. I generally like to see a board more invested. However it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

With a 22% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over SMTA. 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.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Spirit MTA REIT better, we need to consider many other factors.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow for free .

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

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.