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Individual investors who hold 49% of Rockhopper Exploration plc (LON:RKH) gained 70%, institutions profited as well

If you want to know who really controls Rockhopper Exploration plc (LON:RKH), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are individual investors with 49% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

While individual investors were the group that benefitted the most from last week’s UK£36m market cap gain, institutions too had a 38% share in those profits.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Rockhopper Exploration.

Check out our latest analysis for Rockhopper Exploration

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Rockhopper Exploration?

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 Rockhopper Exploration does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Rockhopper Exploration's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It looks like hedge funds own 12% of Rockhopper Exploration shares. That worth noting, since hedge funds are often quite active investors, who may try to influence management. Many want to see value creation (and a higher share price) in the short term or medium term. Our data shows that HBOS Investment Fund Managers Limited is the largest shareholder with 7.5% of shares outstanding. With 6.6% and 6.1% of the shares outstanding respectively, Aedos Advisers (London) LLP and Barclays Bank PLC, Wealth and Investment Management Division are the second and third largest shareholders.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no single shareholder has a majority.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Rockhopper Exploration

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 data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Rockhopper Exploration plc in their own names. It has a market capitalization of just UK£87m, and the board has only UK£478k worth of shares in their own names. We generally like to see a board more invested. However it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 49% stake in the company, and hence can't 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.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Rockhopper Exploration (at least 3 which are significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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