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Corporate financial soundness and its impact on firm performance: implications for corporate debt restructuring in Slovenia

Joze Damijan ()

Post-Communist Economies, 2018, vol. 30, issue 2, 156-192

Abstract: This article studies the extent of corporate leverage and range of excessive debt of Slovenian firms during the recent financial crisis. Half of all firms (of those with some non-zero debt and at least one employee) are found to face an unsustainable debt-to-EBITDA leverage ratio beyond 4, accounting for almost 80% of total outstanding debt. Moreover, a good quarter of all firms experience debt-to-EBITDA ratios exceeding 10 and hold almost half of total aggregate net debt. We then examine how this financial distress affects firm performance in terms of productivity, employment, exports, investment and survival. We find that, while less important during the good times (pre-recession period), lack of firms’ financial soundness during the period of financial distress becomes a critical factor constraining firm performance. The extent of financial leverage and ability to service the outstanding debt are shown to inhibit firms’ productivity growth as well as the dynamics of exports, employment and investment. Micro and small firms are found to suffer relatively more than larger firms from high leverage in terms of export and employment performance during the recession period.

Date: 2018
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