Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Constraints of financial investments

A company has a priority, to invest its own resources. If its own sources are insufficient, the company must raise its fund as equity. The conditions of funding of productive investment depend on specific characteristics to the financial situation of the company.

 Analysis on the financial investment has long been conducted in a theoretical framework defined by the Modigliani-Miller theorem (1958). According to this theorem, it is immaterial for a company to finance its investments through debt, issuance of shares, or retention of profits. This theorem is only valid under very restrictive conditions, which in practice are not checked: the hypothesis of perfect capital markets, lack of conflict between managers and shareholders, and the absence of distortions and taxation. The strict application conditions of this theorem led to his questioning, and guided the researchers to the idea of ​​
an optimal capital structure of companies. Companies are advised to go into debt to take advantage of the leverage and the tax benefit associated with debt. But the growth of debt poses a risk of failure increased. The company must decide between the benefits of debt and the cost of default risk.

The borrowing capacity of a company depends much on its capacity that it can offer, and market conditions (level of interest rates). The level of profits and the level of indebtedness of the company are the two key indicators to assess the repayment capacity of the borrower. In this way, investment is determined by the level of profits and debt.

Economic research highlights the wide diversity of investment behavior of firms. This heterogeneity is largely explained by the different financing terms offered to them. The variable profit rate and debt ratio have explanatory power and real investment by small businesses, but not for the investment of large groups. Small firms have less collateral to offer banks, and therefore more difficult to finance their investments. The constraints are more strengthened in times of slower growth or recession.