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Why Zai Lab Limited’s (ZLAB) Investor Composition Impacts Your Returns

Will Harmon

In this article, I’m going to take a look at Zai Lab Limited’s (NASDAQ:ZLAB) 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 effect of an active institutional investor with a similar ownership as a passive pension-fund can be vastly different on a company’s corporate governance and accountability of shareholders, investors should take a closer look at XYZ’s shareholder registry. All data provided is as of the most recent financial year end.

Check out our latest analysis for Zai Lab

NasdaqGM:ZLAB Ownership Summary Nov 9th 17

Institutional Ownership

Institutional investors transact in large blocks which can influence the momentum of stock prices, at least in the short-term, especially when there is a low level of public shares available on the market to trade. A low institutional ownership of 2.04% puts ZLAB on a list of companies that are not likely exposed to spikes in volatility resulting from institutional trading. Additionally, the company is covered by only 2 analyst, further highlighting its low popularity. Low coverage stocks like ZLAB tend to be favourite picks of legendary investor Peter Lynch, who used to cash in on the rally supported by institutional buying as the stock gained popularity.

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. ZLAB insiders hold a significant stake of 16.04% in the company. This level of insider ownership has been found to have a negative impact on companies with consistently low PE ratios (underperformers), while it has been positive in the case of high PE ratio firms (outperformers). It may be interesting to take a look at what company insiders have been doing with their holdings lately. While insider buying is possibly a sign of a positive outlook for the company, selling doesn’t necessarily indicate a negative outlook as they may be selling to meet personal financial needs.

General Public Ownership

A substantial ownership of 23.24% in ZLAB is held by the general public. This size of ownership gives retail investors collective power in deciding on major policy decisions such as executive compensation, appointment of directors and acquisitions of businesses. This level of ownership gives retail investors the power to sway key policy decisions such as board composition, executive compensation, and potential acquisitions. This is a positive sign for an investor who wants to be involved in key decision-making of the company.

Private Equity Ownership

Private equity firms hold a 15.56% stake in ZLAB. With a stake of this size, they can be influential in key policy decisions. This is an encouraging sign for investors as these investors tend to be active strategist in companies, focusing on increasing operational and capital efficiency for the firm.

Private Company Ownership

Another group of owners that a potential investor in ZLAB should consider are private companies, with a stake of 43.12%. While they invest more often due to strategic interests, an investment can also be driven by capital gains through share price appreciation. This kind of ownership, if predominantly strategic, can give these companies a significant power to affect ZLAB’s business strategy. Thus, potential investors should look into these business relations and check how it can impact long-term shareholder returns.

What this means for you:

Are you a shareholder? Institutional ownership in ZLAB is not at a level that would concern investors. We are less likely to see sustained downtrends or significant volatility resulting from large institutional trading. 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? Ownership structure should not be the only determining factor when you’re building an investment thesis for ZLAB. Rather, you should be looking at fundamental drivers like the future growth expectations around ZLAB, which is a key factor that will influence ZLAB’s share value. Take a look at our most recent infographic report on ZLAB 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.