Why Do Some Firms Go Debt-Free?
Asia-Pacific Journal of Financial Studies 41, 2013
39 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2006 Last revised: 26 Jun 2017
Date Written: January 15, 2013
This paper examines debt-free firms. We find that favorable equity market valuation and borrowing constraints contribute to these firms’ extreme debt conservatism. Small debt-free firms with little access to credit markets are seen to raise equity while paying high dividends. Large debt-free firms, generating more cash flows relative to their investment needs, often pay off their debt while paying high dividends. The results suggest that high dividends for small debt-free firms help them establish good reputations in equity markets, while high dividends for large debt-free firms reduce the agency costs of free cash flow.
Keywords: capital structure, debt-free capital structure, dividend policy
JEL Classification: G32
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