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Is Universal Corporation (NYSE:UVV) Popular Amongst Institutions?

The big shareholder groups in Universal Corporation (NYSE:UVV) have power over the company. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

With a market capitalization of US$1.4b, Universal is a decent size, so it is probably on the radar of institutional investors. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about Universal.

View our latest analysis for Universal

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Universal?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Universal. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Universal's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Universal. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 16% of shares outstanding. With 12% and 7.0% of the shares outstanding respectively, The Vanguard Group, Inc. and Dimensional Fund Advisors LP are the second and third largest shareholders. In addition, we found that George Freeman, the CEO has 0.7% of the shares allocated to their name.

On further inspection, we found that more than half the company's shares are owned by the top 7 shareholders, suggesting that the interests of the larger shareholders are balanced out to an extent by the smaller ones.

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. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of Universal

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.

We can report that insiders do own shares in Universal Corporation. The insiders have a meaningful stake worth US$21m. Most would see this as a real positive. If you would like to explore the question of insider alignment, you can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 17% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over Universal. 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.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Universal (at least 1 which is potentially serious) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Of course this may not be the best stock to buy. Therefore, you may wish to see our free collection of interesting prospects boasting favorable financials.

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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