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Who Are The Major Shareholders Of AusNet Services Ltd (ASX:AST)?

Erna Eldridge

A look at the shareholders of AusNet Services Ltd (ASX:AST) can tell us which group is most powerful. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

AusNet Services has a market capitalization of AU$5.83b, 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 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 AST.

See our latest analysis for AusNet Services

ASX:AST Ownership Summary September 5th 18

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About AusNet Services?

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 16.3% of AusNet Services. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 AusNet Services’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

ASX:AST Income Statement Export September 5th 18

Hedge funds don’t have many shares in AusNet Services. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of AusNet Services

The definition of company insiders can be subjective, and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. 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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of AusNet Services Ltd in their own names. However, it’s possible that insiders might have an indirect interest through a more complex structure. Keep in mind that it’s a big company, and the insiders own AU$6.1m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. 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

The general public holds a 32.3% stake in AST. 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.

Private Company Ownership

It seems that Private Companies own 20.1%, of the AST stock. 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:

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.