A look at the shareholders of Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) can tell us which group is most powerful. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said 'Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.
Harvey Norman Holdings has a market capitalization of AU$5.8b, 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 own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Harvey Norman Holdings.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Harvey Norman Holdings?
Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it's included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.
We can see that Harvey Norman Holdings does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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 Harvey Norman Holdings' historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
Harvey Norman Holdings is not owned by hedge funds. Because actions speak louder than words, we consider it a good sign when insiders own a significant stake in a company. In Harvey Norman Holdings' case, its Top Key Executive, Gerald Harvey, is the largest shareholder, holding 34% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 16% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 16% by the third-largest shareholder. Furthermore, CEO Kay Lesley Page is the owner of 1.6% of the company's shares.
After doing some more digging, we found that the top 2 shareholders collectively control more than half of the company's shares, implying that they have considerable power to influence the company's decisions.
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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.
Insider Ownership Of Harvey Norman Holdings
While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.
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 insiders maintain a significant holding in Harvey Norman Holdings Limited. Insiders own AU$2.4b worth of shares in the AU$5.8b company. That's quite meaningful. It is good to see this level of investment. You can check here to see if those insiders have been buying recently.
General Public Ownership
With a 13% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Harvey Norman Holdings. 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 34%, 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.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Harvey Norman Holdings (of which 1 can't be ignored!) you should know about.
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.
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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