Does Industry-Wide Distress Affect Defaulted Firms? Evidence from Creditor Recoveries
Viral V. Acharya
New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance
Sreedhar T. Bharath
Arizona State University - W.P. Carey School of Business
National University of Singapore - Department of Finance
Journal of Financial Economics 85 (2007) 787–821.
Using data on defaulted firms in the United States over the period 1982 to 1999, we show that creditors of defaulted firms recover significantly lower amounts in present-value terms when the industry of defaulted firms is in distress. We investigate whether this is purely an economic-downturn effect or also a fire-sales effect along the lines of Shleifer and Vishny (1992). We find the fire-sales effect to be also at work: Creditors recover less if the industry is in distress and non-defaulted firms in the industry are illiquid, particularly if the industry is characterized by assets that are specific, that is, not easily redeployable by other industries, and if the debt is collateralized by such specific assets. The interaction effect of industry-level distress and asset-specificity is strongest for senior unsecured creditors, is economically significant, and robust to contract-specific, firm-specific, macroeconomic, and bond-market supply effects. We also document that defaulted firms in distressed industries are more likely to emerge as restructured firms than to be acquired or liquidated, and spend longer in bankruptcy.
Keywords: Recovery, Default, Credit risk, Distressed securities, Bankruptcy
JEL Classification: G33, G34, G12
Date posted: October 28, 2006
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