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The financial leverage–financial performance relationship in the emerging market of Turkey: the role of financial distress risk and currency crisis

Ismail Kalash (Dicle University, Diyarbakir, Turkey)

EuroMed Journal of Business

ISSN: 1450-2194

Article publication date: 2 December 2021

Issue publication date: 24 February 2023

2205

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to examine how financial distress risk and currency crisis affect the relationship between financial leverage and financial performance.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses data of 200 firms listed on Istanbul Stock Exchange during the period from 2009 to 2019, resulting in 1950 firm-year observations. Pooled ordinary least squares, random effects, firm fixed effects and two-step system GMM models are used to investigate the hypotheses of this study.

Findings

The results reveal that financial leverage has negative and significant effect on financial performance, and that this effect is stronger for firms with higher financial distress risk. Furthermore, the findings provide moderate evidence that currency crisis exacerbates the negative association between leverage and performance.

Practical implications

The results of this study have important implications for firms in emerging markets. Managers can enhance firm performance by reducing the level of financial leverage, especially in firms with higher financial distress risk. These firms incur higher debt costs, and then they can benefit more from the decreases in debt ratio in their capital structure. Moreover, the decreases in debt level have more importance in currency crisis times, when the access to external finance becomes more expensive and more difficult.

Originality/value

To the author's knowledge, this research is the first to examine the effect of currency crisis on the financial leverage–financial performance relationship and is one of few that investigate the role of financial distress risk in determining the linkage between leverage and firm performance.

Keywords

Citation

Kalash, I. (2023), "The financial leverage–financial performance relationship in the emerging market of Turkey: the role of financial distress risk and currency crisis", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/EMJB-04-2021-0056

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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