Every investor in Vista Gold Corp (NYSEMKT:VGZ) 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 used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.
Vista Gold is a smaller company with a market capitalization of US$56m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. In the chart below 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 shareholder can tell us about VGZ.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Vista Gold?
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.
We can see that Vista Gold does have institutional investors; and they hold 12% of the stock. 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. When multiple institutions own a stock, there’s always a risk that they are in a ‘crowded trade’. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Vista Gold’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.
It would appear that 19% of Vista Gold shares are controlled by hedge funds. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. There is a little analyst coverage of the stock, but not much. So there is room for it to gain more coverage.
Insider Ownership Of Vista Gold
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.
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.
I can report that insiders do own shares in Vista Gold Corp. In their own names, insiders own US$2m worth of stock in the US$56m company. This shows at least some alignment, but I usually like to see larger insider holdings. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public, mostly retail investors, hold a substantial 66% stake in VGZ, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. 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.
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 .
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.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.