Operational Investment and Capital Structure Under Asset-Based Lending

Forthcoming, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management

Johnson School Research Paper Series

40 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2010 Last revised: 13 Aug 2017

See all articles by Yasin Alan

Yasin Alan

Vanderbilt University - Operations Management

Vishal Gaur

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Date Written: August 12, 2017


(1) Problem Defi nition: Banks commonly use asset-based lending (ABL) to provide loans collateralized by a borrower firm's inventory. We study the implications of ABL by examining how banks should determine asset-based loan terms based on fi rms' operational characteristics (e.g., inventory salvage value and demand uncertainty) and how firms should make inventory stocking and capital structure decisions under asset-based borrowing constraints.

(2) Academic / Practical Relevance: Despite its widespread use for lending to small firms and those with large inventory investments, such as retailers, ABL has not been well studied in the literature.

(3) Methodology: We analyze ABL using a stylized single-period screening game of incomplete information between a business owner and a bank. The bank offers a menu of loans, where each loan offer is characterized by an interest rate and inventory advance rate. The owner then decides the inventory level and the mix of debt and equity with which to finance her firm's operations. Our model captures the practical features of ABL, e.g., the bank does not have the full knowledge of the fi rm's demand prospects, and the inventory advance rate leads to a credit limit that increases in the fi rm's inventory investment.

(4) Results: We show that ABL enables the bank to mitigate information asymmetry by screening fi rms and thereby controlling each firm type's order quantity and leverage. We also obtain hypotheses describing the equilibrium loan contracts, capital structure, inventory investment, and bankruptcy outcomes. For instance, leverage leads to overinvestment due to the equity decision being endogenous to the model. Moreover, inventory advance rates are more sensitive to fi rms' operational characteristics than interest rates.

(5) Managerial Implications: Our study sheds light on the operational and fi nancial implications of ABL by demonstrating how managers should make inventory and capital structure decisions while interacting with asset-based lenders.

Keywords: Operations-Finance Interface, Capital Structure Decisions, Bankruptcy Risk, Capital Market Frictions

Suggested Citation

Alan, Yasin and Gaur, Vishal, Operational Investment and Capital Structure Under Asset-Based Lending (August 12, 2017). Forthcoming, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Johnson School Research Paper Series , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1716925 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1716925

Yasin Alan (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Operations Management ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Vishal Gaur

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/faculty/profiles/Gaur/

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