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Credit Lines: The Other Side of Corporate Liquidity

  • Filippo Ippolito
  • Ander Perez
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    In this paper we offer the first large sample evidence on the availability and usage of credit lines in U.S. public corporations and use it to re-examine the existing findings on corporate liquidity. We show that the availability of credit lines is widespread and that average undrawn credit is of the same order of magnitude as cash holdings. We test the trade-off theory of liquidity according to which firms target an optimum level of liquidity, computed as the sum of cash and undrawn credit lines. We provide support for the existence of a liquidity target, but also show that the reasons why firms hold cash and credit lines are very different. While the precautionary motive explains well cash holdings, the optimum level of credit lines appears to be driven by the restrictions imposed by the credit line itself, in terms of stated purpose and covenants. In support to these findings, credit line drawdowns are associated with capital expenditures, acquisitions, and working capital.

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    File URL: http://research.barcelonagse.eu/tmp/working_papers/618.pdf
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    Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 618.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:618
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    1. Boot, Arnoud & Thakor, Anjan V. & Udell, Gregory F., 1987. "Competition, risk neutrality and loan commitments," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 449-471, September.
    2. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    3. Rajkamal Iyer & Samuel Da-Rocha-Lopes & José-Luis Peydró & Antoinette Schoar, 2013. "Interbank liquidity crunch and the firm credit crunch: Evidence from the 2007-2009 crisis," Economics Working Papers 1365, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    4. Holmstrom, B & Tirole, J, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Working papers 96-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. Michael L. Lemmon & Michael R. Roberts & Jaime F. Zender, 2008. "Back to the Beginning: Persistence and the Cross-Section of Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1575-1608, 08.
    6. Dittmar, Amy & Mahrt-Smith, Jan & Servaes, Henri, 2002. "Corporate Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Dirk Hackbarth, 2011. "Liquidity Mergers," NBER Working Papers 16724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, . "Testing Tradeoff and Pecking Order Predictions about Dividends and Debt.”," CRSP working papers 506, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
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