Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explain the leverage of French wine companies (410 companies) in the wine industry during the period 2000‐2004. Design/methodology/approach – Different classical capital structure theories are reviewed (trade‐off theory (TOT), pecking order theory (POT) and dynamic TOT) in order to formulate testable propositions concerning the determinants of debt levels of the French wine companies. A number of regression models (classical and panel techniques) are developed to test the static theory of trade‐off against the POT. Findings – The results suggest that POT seems to better explain leverage of French wine companies. Significant differences in debt ratio were found between cooperatives and other legal structures. Debt ratios are also different between sub‐sectors (wholesalers, wine growers, wine makers, etc.). Practical implications – Cost of capital is one of the pillars of competitive advantage (or disadvantage) of companies. With the objective to minimize the cost of capital, it seems very important to know the potential determinants of an optimal capital structure. Originality/value – This is a first study of capital structure determinants in the French wine industry which contributes to the current debate between competitive capital structure theories.
International Journal of Wine Business Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 6, 2008
Keywords: Wines; Capital structure; Gearing; France
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