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Credit lines: The other side of corporate liquidity

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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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1311.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1311
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Dirk Hackbarth, 2011. "Liquidity Mergers," NBER Working Papers 16724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Acharya, Viral V & Almeida, Heitor & Campello, Murillo, 2012. "Aggregate Risk and the Choice between Cash and Lines of Credit," CEPR Discussion Papers 8913, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Dittmar, Amy & Mahrt-Smith, Jan & Servaes, Henri, 2002. "Corporate Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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," Working Papers 687, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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  7. Bates, Thomas W. & Kahle, Kathleen M. & Stulz, Rene M., 2007. "Why Do U.S. Firms Hold So Much More Cash Than They Used To?," Working Paper Series 2006-17, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  8. Gabriel Jiménez & Jose A. Lopez & Jesus Saurina, 2009. "Empirical Analysis of Corporate Credit Lines," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(12), pages 5069-5098, December.
  9. Arnoud Boot & Anjan V. Thakor & Gregory F. Udell, 2004. "Competition, Risk Neutrality and Loan Commitments," Finance 0411051, EconWPA.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Hayong Yun, 2009. "The Choice of Corporate Liquidity and Corporate Governance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 1447-1475, April.
  13. 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.
  14. Opler, Tim & Pinkowitz, Lee & Stulz, Rene & Williamson, Rohan, 1999. "The determinants and implications of corporate cash holdings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 3-46, April.
  15. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Michael S. Weisbach, 2004. "The Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1777-1804, 08.
  16. PETER M. DeMARZO & YULIY SANNIKOV, 2006. "Optimal Security Design and Dynamic Capital Structure in a Continuous-Time Agency Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2681-2724, December.
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