Profitability and financial decisions during 2008-2009 financial crisis: Evidence from private firms
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The recent episodes of global financial crises have had significant effects on firms financial decisions and profitability, as well as on their investment and growth. Although it is widely accepted that financial crises have pernicious effects, the study of the impact of crises on private firms is still incipient. Recent academic papers explore the effects of crises on firm growth, financial structure and decisions (see, e.g., Kroszner, Laeven and Klingebiel, 2007; Campello, Giambona, Graham and Harvey, 2011; Campello, Graham and Harvey, 2010). However, these studies focus on publicly tradable firms and relatively little empirical work investigates the effect of crises on private firms. This paper contributes to the literature by exploring the effect of the recent 2008-2009 financial crisis on private firm s cash holdings, leverage, and profitability. This paper employs a novel database that covers more than 140.000 private firms in United Kingdom (UK) during the period from 2005-2011. The database contains firm-level accounting indicators such as profit and loss income statement as well as financial ratios. The firm-level data is merged with industry level measures of external financial dependence and market regulation. This study conducts panel data regressions that consider firm and year fixed effects to control time-invariant firm s heterogeneity and macroeconomic factors in UK. The study shows that in period of financial stability regulated firms have higher levels of cash holdings than non-regulated firms. Regulated firms are also less leveraged than non-regulated firms. Additionally, firms that rely more on external finance have more liquid assets than those that are less-depended on external capital. In terms of profitability, in periods of financial stability regulated private firms and those that rely more on external finance are more profitable than non-regulated firms and those private firms less dependent on external finance, respectively. Additionally, the paper demonstrates that financial crises tend to decrease private firms cash holdings and increase firms leverage, as well as to decrease firms profitability. The paper also explores some heterogeneities. The paper s major results suggest that crises tend to increase cash holdings and decrease leverage of private firms relatively more reliant on external finance. Additionally, the paper demonstrates that crises tend to decrease cash holdings and increase the profitability of regulated firms relatively more as compared to non-regulated private firms. This study contributes to the literature improving our understanding of how private firms react to episodes of financial crises. Additionally, it has important implications for firm managers, investors and regulators, because it may help them to take decisions more informed decisions during periods of financial distress.
Magíster en Economía Aplicada. Ingeniero Civil Industrial
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