Capital Structure and the Financing of Smes: Empirical Evidence From an Irish Survey
29 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2006 Last revised: 14 Jul 2009
Date Written: May 2006
This paper presents an empirical description of the capital structures of a sample of 299 Irish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs hereafter). The sources of finance used by respondents are delineated by internal and external sources and viewed through a life cycle model. Recognising the financial intertwining of owners and their businesses, a description of the means of collateral provided to secure debt financing is also viewed through a life cycle model. The pecking order theory and life cycle model are reviewed to formulate testable hypotheses concerning the use of short term and long term debt, and internal and external equity by respondents. Multivariate regression results indicate relationships between determinants identified in previous studies, namely, age, size, ownership structure, sector and growth opportunities and the use of long term debt, external equity and internal equity. Relationships are also found between age, size, sector and growth opportunities and the means of collateral used to secure debt financing. In seeking to provide a more holistic explanation for observed capital structures, this paper reports SME owners' attitudes towards and perception of sources of finance. Predictions of the pecking order theory seem to explain the financing choices of SMEs, although there are sectoral differences. The underlying justification for this theory in our context is twofold: the respondents' desire for independence and control, and the perceived lack of information asymmetries in debt markets.
Keywords: Capital Structure, SME, Ireland
JEL Classification: G32, O16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation