R&D profitability, intensity and market-to-book: evidence from Australia
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the financial disclosure vis-á-vis economic reality of research and development (R&D) expensed by Australian firms under the pre-2005 Australian generally accepted accounting principles (A-GAAP) regime via the lens of market-to-book. Design/methodology/approach – The authors estimated firms' R&D profit rate, measured R&D revenue intensity and modelled the impacts of these and related economic factors, via economic and financial disclosure channels, on market-to-book using data for 1988-2004. Findings – R&D, on average, was profit neutral and had undetectable impacts on market-to-book whether via equity valuation or financial disclosure. Research limitations/implications – Market-to-book's information content is best viewed as conditional on the reference disclosure regime. Australian firms' typically at best minimal R&D profitability is an international anomaly. Data limitations in terms of the generating process and availability mean that R&D's impact on market-to-book via financial reporting is not definitively determined. Practical implications – Restrictive rules on the capitalization of intangible asset-related expenditures under A-GAAP apparently did not adversely impact market-to-book's economic information. AIFRS's more permissive rule risks compromising market-to-book's reliability in such a role. Originality/value – For Australia, the paper is anticipated to be the first to estimate the profit rate of R&D, measure the intensity of R&D, and model R&D's influence on the market-to-book ratio. It develops a framework for the economic and financial reporting impacts of investments on a key indicator of firms' financial standing and contributes to the debate on identifiable intangibles' disclosure.
Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
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