How Did COVID-19 Affect Firms' Access to Public Capital Markets?

35 Pages Posted: 11 May 2020 Last revised: 16 Sep 2020

See all articles by Michael Halling

Michael Halling

University of Luxembourg

Jin Yu

Monash University - Department of Banking and Finance

Josef Zechner

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Date Written: June 24, 2020

Abstract

We find that bond issues increased substantially since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in calendar week 12 (March 16-20) for bonds rated A or higher, but surprisingly also for bonds rated BBB or lower. In contrast to existing evidence on bond maturities in economic downturns, we document that maturities exceed those of bonds issued before by the same firms as well as the average maturities during normal times. Determinants of corporate bond spreads differ substantially between COVID-19 and normal periods. Most prominently, asset tangibility has a highly significant negative effect on spreads during normal times. In the COVID-19 period this is reversed, especially in industries heavily affected by lock-down measures, reflecting the inflexibility associated with fixed assets. A different picture emerges for equity issues, which slowed considerably during the first four weeks of the pandemic before accelerating again. Capital raised during COVID-19 via equity issues is approximately 5% of capital raised via bond issues.

Keywords: Corporate bond market, pandemic, COVID-19

JEL Classification: G01, G32

Suggested Citation

Halling, Michael and Yu, Jin and Zechner, Josef, How Did COVID-19 Affect Firms' Access to Public Capital Markets? (June 24, 2020). Swedish House of Finance Research Paper No. 20-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3596114 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3596114

Michael Halling (Contact Author)

University of Luxembourg ( email )

L-1511 Luxembourg
Luxembourg

Jin Yu

Monash University - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Melbourne
Australia
+61 3 99034590 (Phone)

Josef Zechner

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien A-1019
Austria

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