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In the wake of Johnson Matthey Plc's (LON:JMAT) latest UK£154m market cap drop, institutional owners may be forced to take severe actions

Key Insights

  • Given the large stake in the stock by institutions, Johnson Matthey's stock price might be vulnerable to their trading decisions

  • The top 13 shareholders own 51% of the company

  • Using data from analyst forecasts alongside ownership research, one can better assess the future performance of a company

If you want to know who really controls Johnson Matthey Plc (LON:JMAT), 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 institutions with 84% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

And institutional investors saw their holdings value drop by 5.2% last week. This set of investors may especially be concerned about the current loss, which adds to a one-year loss of 3.2% for shareholders. Also referred to as "smart money", institutions have a lot of sway over how a stock's price moves. As a result, if the downtrend continues, institutions may face pressures to sell Johnson Matthey, which might have negative implications on individual investors.

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Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Johnson Matthey.

Check out our latest analysis for Johnson Matthey

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Johnson Matthey?

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 Johnson Matthey 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Johnson Matthey, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Johnson Matthey. Schroder Investment Management Limited is currently the company's largest shareholder with 10% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 6.7% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 4.9% by the third-largest shareholder.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 13 shareholders have a combined ownership of 51% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.

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 Johnson Matthey

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Johnson Matthey Plc. It is a pretty big company, so it would be possible for board members to own a meaningful interest in the company, without owning much of a proportional interest. In this case, they own around UK£2.2m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 13% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Next Steps:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Johnson Matthey , 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.