Disclosure of information on intellectual capital in Danish IPO prospectuses

Per Nikolaj Bukh (Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus, Denmark)
Christian Nielsen (Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Peter Gormsen (Novozymes Ltd, Bagsvaerd, Denmark)
Jan Mouritsen (Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this paper is to examine whether information on intellectual capital (non‐financial information on knowledge based resources) is disclosed in Danish IPO prospectuses. Further, to analyse whether this voluntary disclosure has changed in the period from 1999 to 2001 and to analyse what factors can explain the amount of disclosure in the prospectuses.


The paper uses content analysis to compile a measure of disclosure on each prospectus and statistical analysis to test whether there is an association between disclosure and company type, the existence of managerial ownership before the IPO, the size of the company or the age of the firm.


Based on statistical analysis, it is concluded that the extent of managerial ownership prior to the IPO and industry type affects the amount of voluntary intellectual capital disclosure, while company size and age do not affect disclosure. The results are interpreted in the light of the increasing importance of disclosing information on value drivers, strategy and intellectual capital to the capital market and constitute a contribution to the ongoing debate on corporate reporting practices.

Practical implications

Since information on intellectual capital is already disclosed in IPO prospectuses this reporting form can be used as inspiration when an intellectual capital report is developed. The results also indicate that companies and their advisers believe that this type of information is important in the capital market's assessment of the company's value. Further, it is suggested that intellectual capital reports should be read in the context of the firm's strategy in the same manner as an prospectus is read.


Very few papers have analysed disclosure in prospectuses and it has been from a different perspective from this paper. Further, this paper analyses a time series of data and demonstrates how the amount of disclosure has developed over the years. Finally, the paper contributes to the body of literature on what factors explain disclosure in general.



Nikolaj Bukh, P., Nielsen, C., Gormsen, P. and Mouritsen, J. (2005), "Disclosure of information on intellectual capital in Danish IPO prospectuses", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 713-732. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513570510627685

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