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Private companies are Metro AG's (ETR:B4B) biggest owners and were rewarded after market cap rose by €93m last week

A look at the shareholders of Metro AG (ETR:B4B) can tell us which group is most powerful. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 58% to be precise, is private companies. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

As a result, private companies collectively scored the highest last week as the company hit €2.8b market cap following a 3.4% gain in the stock.

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

Check out our latest analysis for Metro

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Metro?

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.

Metro already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in 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 Metro'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

Metro is not owned by hedge funds. EP Global Commerce GmbH is currently the largest shareholder, with 31% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 17% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 8.9% by the third-largest shareholder.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 3 shareholders collectively control more than half of the company's shares, implying that they have considerable power to influence the company's decisions.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of Metro

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. The company management answer to the board and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board themselves.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

We note our data does not show any board members holding shares, personally. Not all jurisdictions have the same rules around disclosing insider ownership, and it is possible we have missed something, here. So you can click here learn more about the CEO.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 28% 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.

Private Company Ownership

It seems that Private Companies own 58%, of the Metro stock. 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.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Metro better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Metro you should be aware of.

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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