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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2019

Daniel Gyung Paik, Timothy Hamilton, Brandon Byunghwan Lee and Sung Wook Yoon

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between the purpose of a loan and the type of debt covenants, separated into balance sheet-based and income…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between the purpose of a loan and the type of debt covenants, separated into balance sheet-based and income statement-based covenants.

Design/methodology/approach

Using private loan deal observations obtained from the DealScan database over the period between 1996 and 2013, the authors classify the sample loan deals into three categories based on the purpose of borrowing, namely, borrowings for corporate daily operating purposes, financing purposes and acquisition and investing purposes. The authors conduct multinomial logistic regression analysis to test the relationship between the choice of financial ratios in a debt covenant and the purpose of a loan, controlling for financing constraints and other factors that have been identified as important to debt covenant analysis in prior studies.

Findings

The results provide evidence that the purpose of the loan is significantly associated with the type of debt covenants, suggesting that the lender and the borrower have considered the loan purpose when structuring their debt agreements. More specifically, the results indicate that the loans borrowed to fund acquisitions or long-term investment projects are more likely to have income statement-based covenants and less likely to have balance sheet-based covenants. In contrast, the loans borrowed for corporate daily operating purposes or financing purposes are more likely to contain balance sheet-based covenants relative to income statement-based covenants.

Research limitations/implications

The authors show that loan purpose is significantly associated with the choice between income statement-based and balance sheet-based covenants. This result further illustrates ways in which accounting information improves contracting efficiency. The results are limited to the US market with its institutional structure. In future studies, it would be interesting to perform similar investigations on firms in other countries.

Practical implications

The findings contain important and economically significant implications indicating that loan lenders and borrowers agree to include different types of accounting information (that is, income statement- versus balance sheet-based financial ratios) in their loan covenants for different purpose loans.

Social implications

Overall, the results provide important evidence regarding the connection between debt covenant structure and loan purpose. In doing so, it contributes to the literature on debt contract design (Dichev and Skinner 2002; Chava and Roberts 2008; Demerjian 2011; Christensen and Nikolaev 2012). Despite much interest in debt contract design, Skinner (2011) argues that there still exists incomplete knowledge of the economic factors that structure debt contracts. Income statement-based covenants depend on measures of profitability and efficiency and act as trip wires that transfer control rights to lenders when borrowing firms’ performance deteriorates. On the other hand, balance sheet-based covenants rely on information about sources and uses of capital and align interests between borrowing firms and lenders by restricting the borrower’s capital structure. The authors show that loan purpose is significantly associated with the choice between income statement-based and balance sheet-based covenants. This result further illustrates ways in which accounting information improves contracting efficiency.

Originality/value

This study is the first to identify differences in trends over time for the use of income statement- and balance sheet-based covenants as it relates to different loan purposes. The authors build on prior research to examine the degree to which loan purpose is associated with the choice between income statement-based and balance sheet-based covenants.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

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Book part
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Raquel Meyer Alexander, Andrew Gross, G. Ryan Huston and Vernon J. Richardson

We investigate the interaction of debt covenants and tax accounting on the adoption of Financial Interpretation No. 48 (FIN 48). We examine how firms respond to the…

Abstract

We investigate the interaction of debt covenants and tax accounting on the adoption of Financial Interpretation No. 48 (FIN 48). We examine how firms respond to the potential tightening of covenant slack upon FIN 48 adoption and whether these actions are penalized by creditors and anticipated by equity markets. We find that upon FIN 48 adoption, the majority of sample corporate borrowers increase their tax reserves and reduce equity. Firms close to debt covenant violation were even more likely to increase tax reserves upon FIN 48 adoption; however, the size of the adjustment was relatively smaller, suggesting that the FIN 48 standards limited, but did not eliminate, firms use of discretion in reporting uncertain tax positions to avoid costly covenant violations. For firms near net worth debt covenant violation, the act of decreasing equity upon FIN 48 adoption imposes real economic costs, as the average cost of debt increased by 43 basis points. Finally, we extend prior research on the market response to FIN 48 by showing how the market response to FIN 48 adoption is a function of debt covenant slack and tax aggressiveness. Specifically, the cumulative abnormal return at the FIN 48 exposure draft release date is negative only for tax aggressive firms that are close to debt covenant violation.

Details

Advances in Taxation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-524-5

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2020

Daniel Gyung Paik, Joyce Van Der Laan Smith, Brandon Byunghwan Lee and Sung Wook Yoon

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between off-balance-sheet (OBS) operating leases and long-term debt by analyzing firms’ debt risk profiles…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between off-balance-sheet (OBS) operating leases and long-term debt by analyzing firms’ debt risk profiles measured by the constraints on firms in the financial ratios in their debt covenants.

Design/methodology/approach

This study determines debt risk profiles using three measures: the ex ante probability of covenant violation (Demerjian and Owens, 2016), firms in violation of debt covenants and firms close to covenant violations.

Findings

High-risk firms according to all three measures, on average, have a significantly lower level of operating leases, indicating that these firms use OBS leases as a substitute for long-term debt. Interestingly, for firms operating in industries in which leases are widely available, firms with a high probability of covenant violation have a significantly higher level of operating leases, indicating that these firms use OBS leases as a complement to long-term debt. Further analysis indicates that lease financing is less costly than debt financing for these firms.

Research limitations/implications

Overall, evidence of this study indicates that firms facing financial constraints may attempt to lease more of their assets, but the availability of leasing is constrained by their debt covenant obligations and the strength of the leasing market in its industry.

Originality/value

This study identifies states in which risky firms may treat leases as either complements or substitutes for long-term debt, implying that the leasing decision relates to the availability of an active leasing market for a firm’s assets and the firm’s financial constraints. The findings of this study support recent research showing that debt and leases are complementary in the presence of counterparty risk providing insight into the paradoxical relationship identified in prior research between leases and long-term debt.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Tashfeen Hussain

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether a firm’s undertaking of a bond IPO influences the monitoring of the private loans granted to the firm by private…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether a firm’s undertaking of a bond IPO influences the monitoring of the private loans granted to the firm by private lenders. If it does, in which direction the monitoring changes?

Design/methodology/approach

The author uses both univariate and multivariate analyses to test the hypothesis. For the purposes of this research, the author’s primary data sources are LPC Dealscan, which provides data on private loans; Mergent FISD, which provides data on public bond issues; and the Compustat Industrial Annual Database, which provides the required financial data for the sample firms. The author’s sample covers non-financial US firms for the period of 1991-2010. The author’s final sample consists of nearly 23,000 private loans granted to about 5,500 non-financial US firms.

Findings

The major finding of this research is that private lenders increase their degree of monitoring of loans that they extend to a firm after it issues a bond IPO. The results of the two-stage bond IPO anticipation model further strengthen the findings. The evidence suggests that as the firm issues public debt for the first time, private lenders get concerned about the potential increase of agency problems and leverage, and consequently, find it valuable to increase the degree of monitoring of loans. Also, the magnitude of change in monitoring is strongly influenced by the degree of information asymmetry, leverage, profitability, and potential to waste free cash flow.

Originality/value

This paper enhances one’s understanding of the contracting dynamics between private lenders and the firm as it issues in the public debt market. The findings can aid firms anticipate the borrowing conditions they will face if they undertake a bond IPO. Further, the cross-sectional analysis on covenant changes from pre- to post-bond IPO period identifies specific firm characteristics that impact the magnitude of change of covenant intensity and comprehensiveness. As a result, uncertainty regarding post-bond IPO outcomes is reduced for borrowing firms.

Details

International Journal of Managerial Finance, vol. 12 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1743-9132

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Book part
Publication date: 8 September 2017

Hassan R. HassabElnaby, Ahmed Abdel-Maksoud and Amal Said

Decision-making rationality is said to be bounded by managers’ cognitive capabilities. Recent studies indicate that accounting functions evolved to augment the cognitively…

Abstract

Decision-making rationality is said to be bounded by managers’ cognitive capabilities. Recent studies indicate that accounting functions evolved to augment the cognitively bounded human brain in handling complex economic exchanges. The neuroscience discipline suggests that human brains have the ability to implement “automatic” processes of positive versus negative emotional stimuli to make rational decisions. Neuroscientific evidence shows that the activations in the ventral striatum decrease with negative emotional information/motives and increase with positive emotional information/motives. The authors, hence, argue that our understanding of the decision-making rationality in financial and managerial decisions could be enhanced by using a functional neuroimaging approach.

Decision-making rationality has been focal in debt covenant violation and earnings management research. The contracting theory predicts a relationship between managers’ decisions and the proximity of violating debt covenants. However, no prior research has investigated brain activities associated with the evaluation of debt covenant violation and earnings management. Meanwhile, in another strand of research, there is an extensive prior literature concerning the consequences of managers’ decisions and the use of accounting information in relation to their evaluative style, i.e., supervisory style. The authors argue that the relationship between the proximity to debt covenants violation and earnings management incentives is contingent upon managers’ supervisory style. However, no previous research has examined the impact of the supervisory style on earnings management in the context of the proximity to debt covenants violation and other earnings management incentives.

In this research note, we argue that neuroaccounting could be relied on to examine the relationship between the proximity to debt covenants and earnings management, contingent upon managers’ supervisory style, by capturing brain activities. The adoption of the neuroscience functional neuroimaging approach in this field should contribute to the understanding of managers’ behaviors and provide implications for research and practitioners. The goal of this research note is to provide a new avenue for future research in this field.

Details

Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-527-6

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Book part
Publication date: 19 October 2020

Kirsten Cook, Tao Ma and Yijia (Eddie) Zhao

This study examines how creditor interventions after debt covenant violations affect corporate tax avoidance. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that…

Abstract

This study examines how creditor interventions after debt covenant violations affect corporate tax avoidance. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that creditor interventions increase borrowers' tax avoidance. This effect is concentrated among firms with weaker shareholder governance before creditor interventions and among those with less bargaining power during subsequent debt renegotiations. Our results indicate that creditors play an active role in shaping corporate tax policy outside of bankruptcy.

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2005

Helen Bishop, Michael Bradbury and Tony van Zijl

We assess the impact of NZ IAS 32 on the financial reporting of convertible financial instruments by retrospective application of the standard to a sample of New Zealand…

Abstract

We assess the impact of NZ IAS 32 on the financial reporting of convertible financial instruments by retrospective application of the standard to a sample of New Zealand companies over the period 1988 ‐ 2003. NZ IAS 32 has a broader definition of liabilities than does the corresponding current standard (FRS‐31) and it does not permit convertibles to be reported under headings that are intermediate to debt and equity. The results of the study indicate that in comparison with the reported financial position and performance, the reporting of convertibles in accordance with NZ IAS 32 would result in higher amounts for liabilities and higher interest. Thus, analysts using financial statement information to assess risk of financial distress will need to revise the critical values of commonly used measures of risk and performance when companies report under NZ IAS

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 27 January 2020

Brandon Ater and Thomas Bowe Hansen

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which firms manage earnings prior to private debt issuance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which firms manage earnings prior to private debt issuance.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an empirical archival research paper using financial statement data and data related to private debt issuance.

Findings

The results indicate that, on average, firms engage in income-increasing earnings management in the period prior to a new private debt issuance. In addition, it was found that this income-increasing earnings management is limited to firms which have engaged in income-increasing earnings management to a greater extent in prior years.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides insight into how managers’ balance competing incentives to use income-increasing earnings management to obtain more favorable lending terms, and to use income-decreasing earnings management to reduce the risk of a future debt covenant violation. The results indicate that firms’ incentive to use income-increasing earnings management dominates. However, reputational concerns significantly constrain firms’ earnings management decisions prior to private debt issuance.

Originality/value

The paper fills a notable void in the literature by investigating firms’ earnings management activity prior to private lending agreements, and thereby provides new insights into both the relation between private debt and accounting quality, and the literature investigating the use of earnings management to avoid debt covenant violations.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2008

Yoonseok Zang

This study aims to examine whether managers use discretion in determining transitional goodwill impairment loss (initial impairment loss or IIL) upon the adoption of SFAS…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine whether managers use discretion in determining transitional goodwill impairment loss (initial impairment loss or IIL) upon the adoption of SFAS no. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, and whether and how the market reacts to the impairment loss and to the absence of goodwill amortization.

Design/methodology/approach

Various empirical models are applied to a sample of 870 firms that completed the IIL test.

Findings

It is found that more highly leveraged firms (firms that have undergone a recent management change) report lower (greater) goodwill impairment. Stock return is not associated with a boost in earnings caused by elimination of goodwill amortization, but it is negatively associated with an unexpected IIL, with the association being stronger for highly leveraged firms. Subsequently, analysts revise earnings forecasts for upcoming quarters downward in response to the unexpected IIL.

Research limitations/implications

Possibility of measurement errors in proxies is a caveat.

Practical implications

The findings are consistent with the strategic reduction of the goodwill impairment by management to avoid the violation of debt covenants and with the notion that new managers take a big bath so they can report higher earnings in the future. The market tests imply that unexpected IIL provides value‐relevant information about a negative view of the future profit‐making potential of the firm or an adverse impact on its debt contracts. No association with elimination of goodwill amortization can be interpreted as the market's anticipation or the lack of information content in goodwill amortization.

Originality/value

This research helps better understand the importance of managers' incentives in determining IIL as well as the stock market effect of the announcement of the IIL and the exclusion of goodwill amortization.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Yinghong Zhang, Fang Sun and Chunwei Xian

This paper aims to examine whether firms retaining industry-specialist auditors receive better price and non-price terms for bank loans.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine whether firms retaining industry-specialist auditors receive better price and non-price terms for bank loans.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a sample of companies retaining big N auditors during the 2000-2010 period, this paper constructed six proxies for auditor industry expertise and tested three major loan terms: loan spreads, number of general and financial covenants and requirements for collateral.

Findings

It was found that companies retaining industry-specialist auditors receive lower interest rates and fewer covenants. Banks are also less likely to demand secured collateral. These findings are supported by several sensitivity tests.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that auditor industry expertise provides incremental value to creditors and that bank loan cost is one economic benefit for companies hiring specialist auditors.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the impact of auditor industry expertise on the cost of private debts.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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