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A model of corporate liquidity

  • Ronald W. Anderson
  • Andrew Carverhill
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    We study a continuous time model of a levered firm with fixed assets generating a cash flow which fluctuates with business conditions. Since external finance is costly, the firm holds a liquid (cash) reserve to help survive periods of poor business conditions. Holding liquid assets inside the firm is costly as some of the return on such assets is dissipated due to agency problems. We solve for the firms optimal dividend, share issuance, and liquid asset holding policies. The firm optimally targets a level of liquid assets which is a non-monotonic function of business conditions. In good times, the firm does not need a high liquidity reserve, but as conditions deteriorate, it will target higher reserve. In very poor conditions, the firm will declare bankruptcy, usually after it has depleted its liquidity reserve. Our model can predict liquidity holdings, leverage ratios, yield spreads, expected default probabilities, expected loss given default and equity volatilities all in line with market experience. We apply the model to examine agency conflicts associated with the liquidity re-serve, and some associated debt covenants. We see that a restrictive covenant applied to the liquidity reserve will often enhance the debt value as well as the equity value.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/24643/
    File Function: Open access version.
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    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 24643.

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    Length: 43 pages
    Date of creation: 05 Mar 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:24643
    Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
    Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
    Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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    1. Tim Opler & Lee Pinkowitz & Rene Stulz & Rohan Williamson, 1997. "The Determinants and Implications of Corporate Cash Holdings," NBER Working Papers 6234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Warner, Jerold B, 1977. "Bankruptcy Costs: Some Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 337-47, May.
    3. Weiss, Lawrence A., 1990. "Bankruptcy resolution: Direct costs and violation of priority of claims," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 285-314, October.
    4. Froot, Kenneth A & Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1993. " Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1629-58, December.
    5. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 5817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kim, Chang-Soo & Mauer, David C. & Sherman, Ann E., 1998. "The Determinants of Corporate Liquidity: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(03), pages 335-359, September.
    7. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Villeneuve, Stéphane, 2004. "Liquidity Risk and Corporate Demand for Hedging and Insurance," CEPR Discussion Papers 4755, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Michael S. Weisbach, 2002. "Corporate Demand for Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 9253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Dittmar, Amy & Mahrt-Smith, Jan & Servaes, Henri, 2003. "International Corporate Governance and Corporate Cash Holdings," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(01), pages 111-133, March.
    10. Morellec, Erwan, 2001. "Asset liquidity, capital structure, and secured debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 173-206, August.
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