Financial Distress: Public vs. Private Firms

57 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2010 Last revised: 30 Jan 2011

See all articles by Seraina C. Anagnostopoulou

Seraina C. Anagnostopoulou

University of Piraeus, Department of Banking and Financial Management

Mario Levis

City University London - Cass Business School

Date Written: January 1, 2011

Abstract

Recent evidence suggests that private firms in the United Kingdom rely heavily on debt financing, have leverage ratios significantly higher than their public counterparts, and their access to external sources of capital remains limited. We extend these findings by examining the implications of such differences in capital structure on financial distress and its repercussions on future operating performance. In spite the higher levels of leverage among private firms, we find a higher incidence of financial distress among public firms; while financial distress, however, among such firms is predominantly due to their sluggish operating performance, the main cause of distress among for private firms is their high level of leverage. We also find that while both public and private firms maintain very similar levels of sales growth in industry adjusted terms, the profitability of the former group is markedly lower in comparison to private firms, during the time period immediately following the appearance of financial distress.

Keywords: Financial Distress, Private Firms, Financial Leverage

JEL Classification: G32, G33

Suggested Citation

Anagnostopoulou, Seraina C. and Levis, Mario, Financial Distress: Public vs. Private Firms (January 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1726463 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1726463

Seraina C. Anagnostopoulou (Contact Author)

University of Piraeus, Department of Banking and Financial Management ( email )

80 Karaoli & Dimitriou Str.
Piraeus, 18534
Greece

Mario Levis

City University London - Cass Business School ( email )

106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom
4420 70408635 (Phone)

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