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Cash holdings: Do they boost or hurt firms’ performance? Evidence from listed non-financial firms in Saudi Arabia

Faisal Alnori (Department of Finance, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management

ISSN: 1753-8394

Article publication date: 4 September 2020

Issue publication date: 1 November 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the relationship between corporate cash holdings and financial performance, both linearly and non-linearly, for listed non-financial firms in Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

The data include all listed firms in Saudi Arabia’s primary stock market, excluding banks and insurance companies, over 2005–2016. The source for all data is the Osiris database. In evaluating the association between cash holdings and financial performance, static (i.e. pooled ordinary least squares) and dynamic (i.e. system generalized method of moments) specifications were implemented. Further, to confirm the non-linear linkage between cash reserves and financial performance, a U test was used.

Findings

The findings show that cash holdings play a significant role in firms’ performance; specifically, this relationship is non-linear, exhibiting an inverse U shape, driven by levels of cash reserves. This non-linear relationship verifies the tenets of the trade-off theory of optimum cash level based on the benefits and costs of holding cash.

Research limitations/implications

It is recommended that future studies investigate corporate liquidity and performance among Shariah-compliant firms and their conventional counterparts.

Practical implications

The findings of this study provide useful insights for managers and policymakers on efficient levels of corporate liquidity management.

Social implications

This paper provides further insights for investors on the role of corporate cash holding levels in firm performance.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this paper is among the first to explore a non-linear relationship between cash holdings and firms’ performance using accounting measures.

Keywords

Citation

Alnori, F. (2020), "Cash holdings: Do they boost or hurt firms’ performance? Evidence from listed non-financial firms in Saudi Arabia", International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 919-934. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMEFM-08-2019-0338

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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