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While institutions own 43% of Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ), individual investors are its largest shareholders with 56% ownership

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. With 56% stake, individual investors possess the maximum shares in the company. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

Meanwhile, institutions make up 43% of the company’s shareholders. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies.

Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of Aurizon Holdings, beginning with the chart below.

View our latest analysis for Aurizon Holdings

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Aurizon Holdings?

Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Aurizon Holdings. 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 Aurizon Holdings' historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

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

We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Aurizon Holdings. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 6.2% of shares outstanding. State Street Global Advisors, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 6.1% of common stock, and First Sentier Investors (Australia) IM Ltd holds about 5.8% of the company stock.

On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Aurizon 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.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Our information suggests that Aurizon Holdings Limited insiders own under 1% of the company. Keep in mind that it's a big company, and the insiders own AU$12m worth of shares. The absolute value might be more important than the proportional share. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public -- including retail investors -- own 56% of Aurizon Holdings. With this amount of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to vote on acquisitions or mergers that may not improve profitability.

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. Be aware that Aurizon Holdings is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , 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.

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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