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Trade credit supply and financial distress outcomes: evidence from Australian voluntary administrations

James Routledge (Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan)

Journal of Accounting Literature

ISSN: 0737-4607

Article publication date: 3 August 2023




The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between trade credit supply and financial distress outcomes, considering the role that trade credit plays as a substantial source of liquidity for distressed companies. Specifically, it examines whether there is an association between trade credit supply and the outcomes experienced by companies that undergo the voluntary administration (VA) insolvency procedure under Australian corporate law.


The study examines a sample of companies that were listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and entered VA between 2002 and 2019. Ordered logistic regression is used to determine the relation between trade credit and VA outcomes. The VA outcomes considered are as follows: (1) company liquidation, (2) orderly dissolution through an agreement with creditors, or (3) an agreement with creditors for reorganization of all or part of the company's business.


The findings show that trade creditors' willingness to supply credit is influenced by their rational expectations about the future prospects of financially distressed customers. Higher levels of trade credit and an increase in trade credit supply prior to VA are associated with a greater probability of achieving a reorganization versus a liquidation or dissolution outcome.


There is no apparent prior study investigating the connection between trade credit supply and outcomes for distressed companies entering insolvency administration. Therefore, this study provides novel evidence on the role of trade credit in the context of financial distress. Understanding the relationship between trade credit supply and outcomes is particularly significant considering that many jurisdictions offer distressed companies the opportunity to pursue reorganization under their insolvency laws. Examining financial distress and trade credit in the Australian creditor-friendly context expands on existing research. Prior research has predominantly relied on data from the United States, which has debtor-friendly bankruptcy law. Consequently, these studies may lack generalizability to jurisdictions with creditor-friendly law such as Australia.



The author would like to thank the Associate Editor Professor Adrian Gepp and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive advice on the paper.


Routledge, J. (2023), "Trade credit supply and financial distress outcomes: evidence from Australian voluntary administrations", Journal of Accounting Literature, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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