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The Influence of Capital Structure on Firm Performance: A quantitative study of Swedish listed firms
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

With contribution of Modigliani and Miller in 1958, capital structure has attained animportant place in finance field. The path breaking contribution has stimulated subsequentresearchers to put emphasis on this topic. Therefore, other theories and researches have beenrevealed and many aspects have been included to capital structure studies so far. However, it has always been controversial topic and the consensus has not been reached yet. Nevertheless,there are many important theories and hypotheses, which explain and investigate this topicvery well such as agency cost theory, trade-off theory, pecking order theory, signalling theory,efficiency-risk hypothesis and franchise-value hypothesis.

When we reviewed the literature and extended our understanding of these theories andhypotheses, we found that the relationship between capital structure and firm performance isinteresting aspect and worthwhile to research. Therefore, we started an extensive literaturereview and found a research gap, which is the relationship between capital structure and afirm's financial performance from the perspective of capital structure theories in the Swedishcontext during the period 2002-2011. Since researchers investigate the relationship betweencapital structure and firm performance in many different countries and there is nothing in theSwedish context, we thus decided to write the thesis about it.

Accordingly, our study began with discussing the problem background. We also stated theresearch question, the objectives, and the expected contribution to clarify the scope ofresearch. After that, we present the existing theories regarding capital structure and providetheir interplay with firm performance.

After we constituted research question and reviewed literature, we knew what kind of data weneeded to utilize. Therefore, we started to search the best database provider for our study. Asa result, we decided on using Thomson Reuter’s database, DataStream. The study sampleincluded 174 non-financial Swedish firms listed on Nasdaq OMX (Stockholm StockExchange). We used ordinary least squares regression analysis over a period of ten years from2002 to 2011. After we collected the data, we imported it to SPSS and ran regression anddescriptive analysis.

According to our empirical findings and analysis, we identify that there is a significantnegative relationship between capital structure and firm performance of listed Swedish firms.In other words, the financial performance of Swedish listed firms for the past decade isnegatively influenced by its leverage ratio. In practical terms, the more debt in relation toassets that firm takes in to finance its operations, the worse does the firm perform financially.When we elaborated our investigation and looked at each industry, we found no differencefrom the general results when dividing the Swedish firms into four major industry categories.However, health care industry has a different relationship.

With this study, we provide further evidence about the interplay between capital structure andfinancial performance and make a contribution both to theory regarding capital structure andfinancial performance as well as giving practical insight for Swedish CFO’s and CEO’s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Capital structure, firm performance, Sweden, Nasdaq OMX, leverage ratios, accounting based measurements of financial performance
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-56790OAI: diva2:537574
2012-05-30, S206, Umea University, Umea, 10:00 (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-06-29 Created: 2012-06-27 Last updated: 2012-06-29Bibliographically approved

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