Accounting quality, debt covenant design, and the cost of debt

Accounting quality, debt covenant design, and the cost of debt We examine whether debt covenant design (threshold tightness, covenants frequency, covenant interdependence, and overall covenant strictness) reduces the adverse effect of poor accounting quality on the cost of debt in the private lending market. We predict and find that when borrowing firms exhibit low accounting quality, lenders tend to increase debt contract strictness through debt covenant design (e.g., increasing the number of covenants, decreasing covenant interdependence or including covenants with greater threshold tightness). Moreover, our results indicate that the cost of debt for borrowers with low accounting quality is significantly influenced by the covenant strictness. Further evidence shows that, although debt covenant designs help mitigate adverse information risk, financial reporting quality is more important than strict debt covenants in lowering the cost of debt, a matter of concern for firm managers and lenders. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting Springer Journals

Accounting quality, debt covenant design, and the cost of debt

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Finance; Corporate Finance; Accounting/Auditing; Econometrics; Operation Research/Decision Theory
ISSN
0924-865X
eISSN
1573-7179
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11156-015-0538-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We examine whether debt covenant design (threshold tightness, covenants frequency, covenant interdependence, and overall covenant strictness) reduces the adverse effect of poor accounting quality on the cost of debt in the private lending market. We predict and find that when borrowing firms exhibit low accounting quality, lenders tend to increase debt contract strictness through debt covenant design (e.g., increasing the number of covenants, decreasing covenant interdependence or including covenants with greater threshold tightness). Moreover, our results indicate that the cost of debt for borrowers with low accounting quality is significantly influenced by the covenant strictness. Further evidence shows that, although debt covenant designs help mitigate adverse information risk, financial reporting quality is more important than strict debt covenants in lowering the cost of debt, a matter of concern for firm managers and lenders.

Journal

Review of Quantitative Finance and AccountingSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 1, 2015

References

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