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What Kind Of Shareholders Own Rio Tinto Group (LON:RIO)?

Simply Wall St

A look at the shareholders of Rio Tinto Group (LON:RIO) can tell us which group is most powerful. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Rio Tinto Group is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of UK£77b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about RIO.

Check out our latest analysis for Rio Tinto Group

LSE:RIO Ownership Summary, July 26th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Rio Tinto Group?

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 Rio Tinto Group does have institutional investors; and they hold 61% of the 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 Rio Tinto Group's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

LSE:RIO Income Statement, July 26th 2019

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Rio Tinto Group is not owned by hedge funds. 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 Rio Tinto Group

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 Rio Tinto Group insiders own under 1% of the company. But they may have an indirect interest through a corporate structure that we haven't picked up on. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own UK£32m of stock. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 16% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over RIO. 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 22%, of the RIO stock. Private companies may be related parties. Sometimes insiders have an interest in a public company through a holding in a private company, rather than in their own capacity as an individual. While it's hard to draw any broad stroke conclusions, it is worth noting as an area for further research.

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.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.