If you want to know who really controls Business First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:BFST), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.
Business First Bancshares is a smaller company with a market capitalization of US$331m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about BFST.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Business First Bancshares?
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.
Business First Bancshares already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 45% 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 Business First Bancshares, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Hedge funds don't have many shares in Business First Bancshares. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.
Insider Ownership Of Business First Bancshares
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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 most recent data indicates that insiders own some shares in Business First Bancshares, Inc.. As individuals, the insiders collectively own US$16m worth of the US$331m company. It is good to see some investment by insiders, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.
General Public Ownership
The general public, who are mostly retail investors, collectively hold 50% of Business First Bancshares shares. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and the dividend payout ratio.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.
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.
If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.
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.
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