The Information Content of Bank Loan Covenants
This article examines the determinants of financial covenant thresholds in bank loan agreements and information conveyed through the selection of tight financial covenants. We find that riskier firms and firms with fewer investment opportunities select tighter financial covenants. We also find that selection of tight covenants is associated with improvements in the covenant variable and declines in investment spending and net debt issuance. We observe these changes also for borrowers that do not breach their covenants, suggesting that they are not simply the result of creditor influence conditional on a technical default. Furthermore, we find that violations of tightly set covenants have significantly less of an impact on the borrower's investment spending and net debt issuance than violations of loosely set covenants. Overall, our results suggest that the selection of tight covenants conveys information concerning future changes in covenant variables, investment and financial policies, and the outcome of covenant violations. The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org., Oxford University Press.
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Volume (Year): 23 (2010)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
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