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Use of Debt Covenants in Small Firms

Author

Listed:
  • Chenchuramaiah T. Bathala

    (Cleveland State University)

  • Oswald D. Bowlin

    (Emeritus, Texas Tech University)

  • William P. Dukes

    (Texas Tech University)

Abstract

This paper examines the structure of debt covenants in small firms, with emphasis on privately owned firms. It is based on a survey of a large sample of firms drawn from the S&P Register of Corporations. The findings show that debt covenants imposed on small firms differ according to the firm type (privately owned or publicly owned), debt level, the borrowing cost, and the source of financing (bank or other sources). The evidence is generally consistent with the arguments relating to stockholder-bondholder agency cost conflicts and the Costly Contracting Hypothesis of Smith and Warner (1979).

Suggested Citation

  • Chenchuramaiah T. Bathala & Oswald D. Bowlin & William P. Dukes, 2006. "Use of Debt Covenants in Small Firms," Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management, vol. 11(2), pages 49-72, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:pep:journl:v:11:y:2006:i:2:p:49-72
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frankfurter, George M. & Wood, Bob Jr., 2002. "Dividend policy theories and their empirical tests," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 111-138.
    2. Cheol Park, 2000. "Monitoring and Structure of Debt Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2157-2195, October.
    3. Begley, Joy & Feltham, Gerald A., 1999. "An empirical examination of the relation between debt contracts and management incentives," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 229-259, April.
    4. Neil L. Fargher & Michael S. Wilkins & Lori M. Holder-Webb, 2001. "Initial Technical Violations of Debt Covenants and Changes in Firm Risk," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3-4), pages 465-480.
    5. Kalay, Avner, 1982. "Stockholder-bondholder conflict and dividend constraints," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 211-233, July.
    6. Iskandar-Datta, Mai E. & Emery, Douglas R., 1994. "An empirical investigation of the role of indenture provisions in determining bond ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 93-111, January.
    7. John, Kose & Kalay, Avner, 1982. " Costly Contracting and Optimal Payout Constraints," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(2), pages 457-470, May.
    8. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Wruck, Karen H., 2002. "Asset liquidity, debt covenants, and managerial discretion in financial distress:*1: the collapse of L.A. Gear," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 3-34, April.
    9. Chen, Andrew H. & Hung, Mao-Wei & Mazumdar, Sumon C., 1995. "Loan covenants and corporate debt policy under bank regulations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1419-1436, November.
    10. Ilia D. Dichev, 2002. "Large-Sample Evidence on the Debt Covenant Hypothesis," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 1091-1123, September.
    11. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Warner, Jerold B., 1979. "On financial contracting : An analysis of bond covenants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 117-161, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Debt; Debt Covenants; Covenants; Small Firm; Small Business;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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