External financing, information disclosure and the timeliness of annual shareholder meetings and financial statement filings in Belgium
timeliness of financial reporting in Belgium. The analysis is based on a sample of 1892 non-financial Belgian companies for 1996. The contribution of this paper is to investigate how external financing affects the timeliness of financial reporting of closely held companies in continental Europe. Moreover, we investigate to what extent the determinants of the timeliness of the annual financial statement affect the timeliness of the annual shareholder meeting. We find evidence of a relationship between financial characteristics and the timeliness of the financial statements. Large companies, listed companies, companies with financial debt (especially bank loans), and companies with a low debt ratio, high liquid reserves and high investment tend to file their annual statements faster. Moreover, companies reporting an extraordinary profit also file their annual statements faster. Loss making companies and companies with high debt ratios and low investments wait longer to call the annual shareholder meeting. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the more companies are confronted with outside users of the financial statements, the faster they file their financial statements. Companies in bad financial health delay financial reporting.
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