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Privatising national oil companies: Assessing the impact on firm performance

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  • Wolf, C.
  • Pollitt, M.G.

Abstract

This study empirically investigates the impact of privatisation on firm performance in the global oil and gas industry, where questions of resource control have regained widespread attention. Using a dataset of 60 public share offerings by 28 National Oil Companies it is shown that privatisation is associated with comprehensive and sustained improvements in performance and efficiency. Over the seven-year period around the initial privatisation offering, return on sales increases by 3.6 percentage points, total output by 40%, capital expenditure by 47%, and employment intensity drops by 35%. Many of our observed performance improvements are already realised in anticipation of the initial privatisation date, accrue over time, and level off after the initial ownership change rather than accelerate. Details of residual government ownership, control transfer, and size and timing of follow-on offerings provide limited incremental explanatory power for firm performance, except for employment intensity. Based on these results partial privatisations in the oil sector might be seen to capture a significant part of the performance improvement associated with private capital markets without the selling government having to cede majority control.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolf, C. & Pollitt, M.G., 2008. "Privatising national oil companies: Assessing the impact on firm performance," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0811, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0811
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter R. Hartley and Kenneth B. Medlock III, 2013. "Changes in the Operational Efficiency of National Oil Companies," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    2. Pollitt, Michael G., 2012. "The role of policy in energy transitions: Lessons from the energy liberalisation era," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 128-137.
    3. repec:now:fntfin:0500000053 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Wolf, C. & Pollitt, M.G., 2009. "The Welfare Implications of Oil Privatisation: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Norway’s Statoil," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0912, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:566-578 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Wolf, C, 2008. "Does Ownership Matter? The Performance and Efficiency of State Oil vs. Private Oil (1987-2006)," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0828, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Privatisation; ownership; corporate performance; anticipation; oil and gas industry;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • M20 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - General
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General

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