بخشی از مقاله (انگلیسی)
This study investigates the possible nonlinear relationship between working capital and credit rating. Furthermore, it examines the relationship between the three components of working capital (inventory, accounts receivable, and accounts payable) and a firm’s credit rating. Employing data for U.S listed firms for the period between 1985 and 2017, the results of our ordered probit model show a nonlinear relationship between working capital and its components and credit rating. Finally, we find that the deviation from the optimal working capital adversely affects the credit rating. The results of this study are of significant importance for policy makers, managers, decision makers, and credit-rating agencies, as they help highlight the importance of working capital management for a firm’s credit rating.
In light of the 2008 financial crisis, credit-rating scores (CRSs) released by credit-rating agencies have grown in importance (Hung et al. 2017). Credit-rating agencies play a vital role in capital markets by reducing the moral hazard problem. In addition, credit ratings help investors assess the creditworthiness of issuers and the financial securities issued by them (Lee et al. 2021). Furthermore, credit ratings are used as a benchmark based on which investors manage their portfolios. Finally, they play an important monitoring role, as they may require firms with rating deteriorations to take corrective actions to minimize these deteriorations (Huan and Mohamed 2021). Additionally, CRSs have become a crucial tool that helps investors in their investment decision-making process, as they help investors identify risky assets, price their credit, and allocate their capital more efficiently (Amato and Furfine 2004). Investors are highly concerned about borrowers’ ability to fulfil their obligations (Haspolat 2015). Moreover, Bauer and Esqueda (2017) point out that banks rely on credit rating scales to compensate for information deficits when making loan decisions. Thus, a considerable amount of literature has been published on the impact of factors such as firm-specific characteristics [Return on Assets (ROA), size, and liquidity], corporate social responsibility (CSR), and operational leanness on the corporate credit rating (Attig et al. 2013; Hung et al. 2013; Bendig et al. 2017; Dong et al. 2021). However, to our knowledge, no previous study has investigated the impact of working capital management (WCM) on a firm’s credit rating. A key aspect of a WCM decision is its impact on a firm’s risk, return, and valuation (Smith 1980). Many researchers have attempted to investigate the impact of WCM on firms’ financial performance (e.g., Aktas et al. 2015; Jose et al. 1996; Shin and Soenen 1998; Deloof 2003; García-Teruel and Martínez-Solano 2007). These studies have mainly focused on the impact of WCM on a firm’s profitability performance. The interesting point here is the consensus that maintaining a high level of net working capital (NWC) reduces a firm’s risk and profitability.
WCM is considered to be one of the most important factors in a firm’s success or failure. Therefore, in this study, we investigate whether a firm’s WCM can affect the perceived riskiness of external evaluators, such as the credit-rating agency S&P. The rationale for this relationship is that inappropriate WCM may increase a firm’s riskiness through under- or over-investment in working capital components. Based on U.S. panel data of 43,141 firm-year observations from 1985 to 2017, we find evidence of a relationship between WCM and credit rating. In particular, we find that this relationship is concave, in which firms have an optimal working capital level that balances costs and benefits to reduce firms’ riskiness; hence, credit is improved. Further, we find that the concave relationship is applicable to working capital components (inventory, accounts receivable, and accounts payable) and that deviation from the optimal working capital level may decrease a firm’s credit rating score.