Could The Benitec Biopharma Limited (ASX:BLT) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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If you want to know who really controls Benitec Biopharma Limited (ASX:BLT), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

Benitec Biopharma is a smaller company with a market capitalization of AU$15m, so it may still be flying under the radar of many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about BLT.

View our latest analysis for Benitec Biopharma

ASX:BLT Ownership Summary, July 12th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Benitec Biopharma?

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.

Benitec Biopharma already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 18% of 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. 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 Benitec Biopharma's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

ASX:BLT Income Statement, July 12th 2019

Benitec Biopharma is not owned by hedge funds. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of Benitec Biopharma

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. 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.

I can report that insiders do own shares in Benitec Biopharma Limited. It has a market capitalization of just AU$15m, and insiders have AU$423k worth of shares, in their own names. Some would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board, though I generally prefer to see bigger insider holdings. But it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 41% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. 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 Equity Ownership

Private equity firms hold a 34% stake in BLT. This suggests they can be influential in key policy decisions. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.

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 .

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.