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What Kind Of Shareholder Appears On The The a2 Milk Company Limited's (NZSE:ATM) Shareholder Register?

Simply Wall St

A look at the shareholders of The a2 Milk Company Limited (NZSE:ATM) can tell us which group is most powerful. 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.

a2 Milk has a market capitalization of NZ$9.6b, 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. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about ATM.

Check out our latest analysis for a2 Milk

NZSE:ATM Ownership Summary, October 19th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About a2 Milk?

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.

We can see that a2 Milk does have institutional investors; and they hold 61% of the stock. 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 a2 Milk, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

NZSE:ATM Income Statement, October 19th 2019

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. a2 Milk is not owned by hedge funds. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of a2 Milk

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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 The a2 Milk Company Limited insiders own under 1% of the company. Keep in mind that it's a big company, and the insiders own NZ$56m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 39% stake in ATM. 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 a2 Milk 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.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter 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.

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.