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What Kind Of Shareholders Own Unilever N.V. (AMS:UNA)?

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If you want to know who really controls Unilever N.V. (AMS:UNA), 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. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Unilever is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of €140b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it's seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about UNA.

View our latest analysis for Unilever

ENXTAM:UNA Ownership Summary, June 27th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Unilever?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors own 26% of Unilever. 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. 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 Unilever's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

ENXTAM:UNA Income Statement, June 27th 2019

We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Unilever. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of Unilever

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.

Our information suggests that Unilever N.V. insiders own under 1% of the company. But they may have an indirect interest through a corporate structure that we haven't picked up on. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own €134m of stock. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 25% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over UNA. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Private Company Ownership

We can see that Private Companies own 49%, of the shares on issue. It might be worth looking deeper into this. If related parties, such as insiders, have an interest in one of these private companies, that should be disclosed in the annual report. Private companies may also have a strategic interest in the company.

Next Steps:

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

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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.