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The big shareholder groups in Enerplus Corporation (TSE:ERF) have power over the company. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.
Enerplus has a market capitalization of CA$3.0b, so we would expect some institutional investors to have noticed the stock. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Enerplus.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Enerplus?
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.
Enerplus 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 Enerplus' historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.
Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. It would appear that 6.7% of Enerplus shares are controlled by hedge funds. That's interesting, because hedge funds can be quite active and activist. Many look for medium term catalysts that will drive the share price higher. Key Group Holdings (Cayman), Ltd. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 6.7% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 3.7% and 3.6%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.
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.
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 Enerplus
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 Enerplus Corporation in their own names. 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 CA$13m worth of shares (at current prices). Arguably, recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
The general public holds a 42% stake in Enerplus. 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.
It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Enerplus better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Enerplus you should be aware of.
If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its 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.
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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