Internal Capital Markets, Bank Borrowing and Investment: Evidence from German Corporate Groups
EFMA 2002 London Meetings
40 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2002
Large German corporations are often suspected to be isolated from organized external capital markets and instead rely on capital sources from within the corporate group or from closely connected universal banks. This paper firstly reviews and discusses the benefits and costs of financing through internal capital markets and close bank relationships. The theoretical analysis shows that there is no clear preference regarding the relative pros and cons of internal capital markets and such bank borrowing. Secondly, the paper empirically investigates the joint effects of internal capital markets and bank borrowing on the internal cash flow dependence of investment (investment-cash flow sensitivity) which is often used to identify firms with financing constraints. For a sample of 220 German corporate groups, empirical evidence is found that the investment-cash flow sensitivity for firms heavily using internal capital markets is higher than for firms relying more on bank financing and that investment-cash flow sensitivities vary greatly depending on the degree of internal capital market activity and bank borrowing intensity. This is directly in contrast to existing empirical evidence documenting that firms that rely more on internal capital markets have lower investment-cash flow sensitivities in tendency. It is suggested that separating samples into firms relying on internal capital markets and firms relying on bank financing gives no unambiguous empirical prediction for the investment-cash flow sensitivities because the latter financing form might stem from a close universal bank relationship which has similar characteristics like an internal capital market. Furthermore, a descriptive analysis of firms with high investment-cash flow sensitivities suggests that not all of these companies appear to be financially constrained. This supports recent research which claims that the investment-cash flow sensitivity is not a useful measure of financing constraints.
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