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If you want to know who really controls General Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:GFN), 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. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, 'Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.
General Finance is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$261m, which means it wouldn't have the attention of many institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about General Finance.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About General Finance?
Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.
General Finance already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. 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 General Finance, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
It looks like hedge funds own 7.7% of General Finance shares. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. From our data, we infer that the largest shareholder is Ronald Valenta (who also holds the title of Top Key Executive) with 15% of shares outstanding. Its usually considered a good sign when insiders own a significant number of shares in the company, and in this case, we're glad to see a company insider play the role of a key stakeholder. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 9.8% and 8.6% of the stock. Furthermore, CEO Jody Miller is the owner of 1.6% of the company's shares.
We did some more digging and found that 6 of the top shareholders account for roughly 51% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.
Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. While there is some analyst coverage, the company is probably not widely covered. So it could gain more attention, down the track.
Insider Ownership Of General Finance
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.
It seems insiders own a significant proportion of General Finance Corporation. It has a market capitalization of just US$261m, and insiders have US$65m worth of shares in their own names. This may suggest that the founders still own a lot of shares. You can click here to see if they have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public, with a 20% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.
Private Company Ownership
We can see that Private Companies own 21%, of the shares on issue. It's hard to draw any conclusions from this fact alone, so its worth looking into who owns those private companies. Sometimes insiders or other related parties have an interest in shares in a public company through a separate private company.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand General Finance better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with General Finance (at least 1 which is concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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