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Performance measures quality and value relevance in flow-through organisational structures: the case of Canadian income trusts

Author

Listed:
  • Pascale Lapointe-Antunes
  • Denis Cormier
  • Michel Magnan

Abstract

Income trusts are rapidly emerging as a key force in Canadian capital markets and their unit market capitalisation exceeded 300 billion Canadian dollars by early 2008. One of the peculiarities of income trusts is that GAAP-derived measures, such as earnings, are replaced by non-GAAP measures, such as distributable income, as performance benchmarks. Hence, the need to pay investors a stable distribution motivates income trust managers to engage in distribution-based earnings management. Two research questions are addressed. Firstly, do income trusts use discretionary accruals to smooth EBITDA and, presumably, cash distributions to unit-holders? Secondly, do investors see through EBITDA smoothing? Our findings document that the EBITDA target deviation influences an income trust's accruals behaviour. Consistent with prior studies in dividend-focused environments, our results also suggest that investors may value positively discretionary accruals if they allow income trusts to maintain their cash distributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Pascale Lapointe-Antunes & Denis Cormier & Michel Magnan, 2007. "Performance measures quality and value relevance in flow-through organisational structures: the case of Canadian income trusts," International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(6), pages 547-571.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijaape:v:4:y:2007:i:6:p:547-571
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