The Covid-19 Shock and Equity Shortfall: Firm-Level Evidence from Italy

35 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Elena Carletti

Elena Carletti

Bocconi University

Tommaso Oliviero

University of Naples Federico II - CSEF - Center for Studies in Economics and Finance

Marco Pagano

University of Naples Federico II - Department of Economics and Statistics; Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF); Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF); Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Loriana Pelizzon

Goethe University Frankfurt - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE; Ca Foscari University of Venice

Marti G. Subrahmanyam

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

This paper estimates the drop in profits and the equity shortfall triggered by the COVID-19 shock and the subsequent lockdown, using a representative sample of 80,972 Italian firms. We find that a 3-month lockdown entails an aggregate yearly drop in profits of 170 billion euros, with an implied equity erosion of 117 billion euros for the whole sample, and 31 billion euros for firms that became distressed, i.e., ended up with negative book value after the shock. As a consequence of these losses, about 17% of the sample firms, whose employees account for 8.8% of total employment in the sample (about 800 thousand employees), become distressed. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are affected disproportionately, with 18.1% of small firms, and 14.3% of medium-sized ones becoming distressed, against 6.4% of large firms. The equity shortfall and the extent of distress are concentrated in the Manufacturing and Wholesale Trading sectors and in the North of Italy. Since many firms predicted to become distressed due to the shock had fragile balance sheets even prior to the COVID-19 shock, restoring their equity to their pre-crisis levels may not suffice to ensure their long-term solvency.

Keywords: COVID-19, Distress, equity, losses, Pandemics, Recapitalization

JEL Classification: G01, G32, G33

Suggested Citation

Carletti, Elena and Oliviero, Tommaso and Pagano, Marco and Pelizzon, Loriana and Subrahmanyam, Marti G., The Covid-19 Shock and Equity Shortfall: Firm-Level Evidence from Italy (May 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14831, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3615594

Elena Carletti (Contact Author)

Bocconi University ( email )

Tommaso Oliviero

University of Naples Federico II - CSEF - Center for Studies in Economics and Finance ( email )

Via Cintia
Complesso Monte S. Angelo
Naples, Naples 80126
Italy

Marco Pagano

University of Naples Federico II - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Via Cintia - Monte S. Angelo
Napoli, 80126
Italy
+39 081 675306 (Phone)
+39 081 7663540 (Fax)

Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF) ( email )

Via Cintia
Complesso Monte S. Angelo
Naples, Naples 80126
Italy

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)

Via Sallustiana, 62
Rome, 00187
Italy

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http:/www.ecgi.org

Loriana Pelizzon

Goethe University Frankfurt - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, D-60323
Germany

Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE ( email )

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.safe-frankfurt.de

Ca Foscari University of Venice ( email )

Dorsoduro 3246
Venice, Veneto 30123
Italy

Marti G. Subrahmanyam

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )

Stern School of Business,
44 West 4th Street, Suite 9-68
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States
212-998-0348 (Phone)
212-995-4233 (Fax)

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