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Is Ferguson plc (LON:FERG) Popular Amongst Institutions?

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

The big shareholder groups in Ferguson plc (LON:FERG) have power over the company. Insiders often own a large chunk of younger, smaller, companies while huge companies tend to have institutions as shareholders. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Ferguson has a market capitalization of UK£20b, so it's too big to fly under the radar. We'd expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. In the chart below, we can see that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Ferguson.

View our latest analysis for Ferguson

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Ferguson?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Ferguson. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Ferguson's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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

It looks like hedge funds own 5.1% of Ferguson shares. That worth noting, since hedge funds are often quite active investors, who may try to influence management. Many want to see value creation (and a higher share price) in the short term or medium term. Trian Fund Management, L.P. is currently the largest shareholder, with 5.1% of shares outstanding. With 4.8% and 3.8% of the shares outstanding respectively, BlackRock, Inc. and The Vanguard Group, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.

On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Ferguson

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.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our information suggests that Ferguson plc insiders own under 1% of the company. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own UK£24m worth of shares (at current prices). In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public -- mostly retail investors -- own 54% of Ferguson. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Ferguson you should be aware of.

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.

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