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Why EXCO Resources Inc’s (XCO) Ownership Structure Is Important

Sadie Atkinson

In this article, I’m going to take a look at EXCO Resources Inc’s (NYSE:XCO) latest ownership structure, a non-fundamental factor which is important, but remains a less discussed subject among investors. Ownership structure of a company has been found to affect share performance over time. Since the same amount of capital coming from an activist institution and a passive mutual fund has different implications on corporate governance, it is a useful exercise to deconstruct XYZ’s shareholder registry. All data provided is as of the most recent financial year end.

See our latest analysis for XCO

NYSE:XCO Ownership Summary Nov 6th 17

Institutional Ownership

XCO’s 33.97% institutional ownership seems enough to cause large share price movements in the case of significant share sell-off or acquisitions by institutions, particularly when there is a low level of public shares available on the market to trade. These moves, at least in the short-term, are generally observed in an institutional ownership mix comprising of active stock pickers, in particular levered hedge funds, which can cause large price swings. Considering hedge funds hold a stake of 9.55% in the company, XCO shares may experience high short-term volatility as this class of institutions are frequently found to sell significantly during market-wide shocks. But I also examine other ownership types and their potential impact on XCO’s investment case.

Insider Ownership

I find insiders are another important group of stakeholders, who are directly involved in making key decisions related to the use of capital. In essence, insider ownership is more about the alignment of shareholders’ interests with the management. With a minor stake in XCO, insiders seem to have some alignment of interest with shareholders. A higher level of insider ownership has been found to reflect the choosing of projects with higher return on investments compared to lower returning projects for the sake of expansion. In addition to this, it may be interesting to look at insider buying and selling activities. Keep in mind that buying may be sign of upbeat future expectations, but selling doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite as the insiders might just be doing it out of their personal financial needs.

NYSE:XCO Insider Trading Nov 6th 17

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a substantial 33.03% stake in XCO, making it a highly popular stock among retail investors. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in major company policies that affect shareholders returns, including executive remuneration and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.

Private Equity Ownership

Private equity firms hold a 15.86% stake in XCO. With a stake of this size, they can be influential in key policy decisions. This is a positive sign for potential investors as these firms play an important role in aligning company policy with shareholder returns.

Private Company Ownership

Potential investors in XCO should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 6.59%, who are primarily invested because of strategic and capital gain interests. With this size of ownership in XCO, this ownership class can affect the company’s business strategy. As a result, potential investors should further explore the company’s business relations with these companies and find out if they can affect shareholder returns in the long-term.

What this means for you:

Are you a shareholder? With significant institutional ownership, including active hedge, existing investors should seek a margin of safety when investing in XCO. This is to avoid getting trapped in a sustained sell-off that is often observed in stocks with this level of institutional participation. If you’re interested in bolstering your portfolio with new stocks and are looking for ideas, take a look at our free app to see my list of stocks with a strong growth potential.

Are you a potential investor? If you are building an investment case for XCO, ownership structure alone should not dictate your decision to buy or sell the stock. Rather, you should be examining fundamental factors like the intrinsic valuation of XCO, which is a key driver of XCO’s share price. Take a look at our most recent infographic report on XCO for a more in-depth analysis of these factors to help you make a more well-informed investment decision.

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 pass 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.