Balcaen, Sofie; Ooghe, Hubert (Vlerick Business School, 2004)
Over the last 35 years, the topic of company failure prediction has developed to a major research domain in corporate finance. Academic researchers from all over the world have been developing a gigantic number of corporate failure prediction models, based on various types of modelling techniques. Besides the classic cross-sectional statistical methods, which have produced numerous failure prediction models, researchers have also been using several alternative methods for analysing and predicting business failure. To date, a clear overview and discussion of the application of alternative methods in corporate failure prediction is still lacking. Moreover, frequently, different designations or names are used for one method. Therefore, this study aims to provide a clear overview of the alternative research methods, attributing each of them a fixed designation. More in particular, this paper extensively elaborates on the most popular methods of survival analysis, machine learning decision trees and neural networks. Furthermore, it discusses several other alternative methods, which can be considered to have a certain value added in the empirical literature on business failure: the fuzzy rules-based classification model, the multi-logit model, the CUSUM model, dynamic event history analysis, the catastrophe theory and chaos theory model, multidimensional scaling, linear goal programming, the multi-criteria decision aid approach, rough set analysis, expert systems and self-organizing maps. This paper discusses the main features of these methods and their specific assumptions, advantages and disadvantages and it gives an overview of a number of academically developed corporate failure prediction models. Several issues viewed in isolation by earlier studies are here considered together, which is of major importance for gaining a clear insight into the possible alternative methods of corporate failure modelling and their corresponding features. A second aim of this paper is to find an answer to the question whether the more sophisticated, alternative modelling methods produce better performing failure prediction models than the rather simple classic statistical methods. The analysis of the conclusions of a large number of empirical studies comparing the classification results and/or the prediction abilities of failure prediction models based on different techniques seems to indicate that we may question the benefits to be gained from using the more sophisticated alternative methods.
Balcaen, Sofie; Ooghe, Hubert (Vlerick Business School, 2004)
Over the last 35 years, the topic of business failure prediction has developed to a major research domain in corporate finance. A gigantic number of academic researchers from all over the world have been developing corporate failure prediction models, based on various modelling techniques. The ‘classic cross-sectional statistical' methods have appeared to be most popular. Numerous ‘single-period' or ‘static' models have been developed, especially multivariate discriminant models and logit models. As to date, a clear overview and discussion of the application of the classic cross-sectional statistical methods in corporate failure prediction is still lacking, this paper extensively elaborates on the application of (1) univariate analysis, (2) risk index models, (3) multivariate discriminant analysis, and (4) conditional probability models, such as logit, probit and linear probability models. It discusses the main features of these methods and their specific assumptions, advantages and disadvantages and it gives an overview of a large number of academically developed corporate failure prediction models. Despite the popularity of the classic statistical methods, there have appeared to be several problems related to the application of these methods to the topic of corporate failure prediction. However, in the existing literature there is no clear and comprehensive analysis of the diverse problems. Therefore, this paper brings together all criticisms and problems and extensively enlarges upon each of these issues. So as to give a clear overview, the diverse problems are categorized into a number of broad topics: problems related to (1) the dichotomous dependent variable, (2) the sampling method, (3) non-stationarity and data instability, (4) the use of annual account information, (5) the selection of the independent variables, and (6) the time dimension. This paper contributes towards a thorough understanding of the features of the classic statistical business failure prediction models and their related problems.
This paper describes a typology of failure processes within companies. Based on case studies and considering companies' ages and management characteristics, we discovered four types of failure processes. The first failure process describes the deterioration of unsuccessful start-up companies leaded by a management with a serious deficiency in managerial and industry- related experience. The second process reveals the failure process of ambitious growth companies. Those companies have, after a failed investment, insufficient financial means to adjust their way of doing business to the changes in the environment in order to prevent bankruptcy. Third, we describe the failure process of dazzled growth companies, leaded by an overconfident management without a realistic view on the company's financial situation. Lastly, the failure process of apathetic established companies, describes the gradual deterioration of established companies where management had lost touch with the changing environment. We also found that there is a great difference in the presence and importance of specific causes of bankruptcy between the distinctive failure processes . Errors made by management, errors in corporate policy and changes in the general and immediate environments differ considerably between each of the four failure processes.
Ooghe, Hubert; Spaenjers, Christophe; Vandermoere, Pieter (Vlerick Business School, 2005)
We give an overview of the shortcomings of the most frequently used statistical techniques in failure prediction modelling. The statistical procedures that underpin the selection of variables and the determination of coefficients often lead to ‘overfitting'. We also see that the ‘expected signs' of variables are sometimes neglected and that an underlying theoretical framework mostly does not exist. Based on the current knowledge of failing firms, we construct a new type of failure prediction models, namely ‘simple-intuitive models'. In these models, eight variables are first logit-transformed and then equally weighted. These models are tested on two broad validation samples (1 year prior to failure and 3 years prior to failure) of Belgian companies. The performance results of the best simple-intuitive model are comparable to those of less transparent and more complex statistical models.
Baeyens, Katleen; Vanacker, Tom; Manigart, Sophie (Vlerick Business School, 2005)
The paper analyses venture capitalists' selection process in biotechnology ventures. Biotech ventures operate in an extremely risky environment making this an interesting research setting. The majority of venture capitalists exclude certain biotech sectors ex-ante because of regulatory uncertainty, the long development process to a market ready product and the difficulty to understand the technology. The more thorough due diligence process focusses on financial, market and technology criteria. Management team capabilities are more important for later stage investors, whereas early stage investors expect to have an impact on the future recruiting of professional managers. Despite the higher risk of biotech investments, we find no evidence that VCs require higher hurdle rates or more complete contracts for these investments, compared to investments in other technology-based companies. The most important reason for not reaching an investment agreement is disagreement over valuation, due to large differences in risk perception between entrepeneurs and venture capitalists and the lack of a standard valuation tool for biotech projects. Keywords: venture capital, selection process, biotechnology
Ooghe, Hubert; Heyman, D.; Deloof, Marc (Vlerick Business School, 2003)
Once a firm decides to issue debt, the characteristics of this debt instrument should be considered. One of the critical decisions involves debt maturity. Using a sample of 1091 Belgian small firms from 1996 until 2000, this study analyses the determinants of the corporate debt-maturity structure of small firms in a creditor-oriented system. Consistent with previous empirical evidence on large firms, the present results strongly support the maturity-matching principle. The hypothesis that firms with many growth opportunities will borrow on the short term as a response to the under-investment problem, is not supported. There is a clear relation between the credit worthiness of a firm and the debt-maturity structure. Firms with a better credit score borrow on the long term, whereas firms with a poor credit quality are apparently forced to borrow on the short term. This evidence contradicts the expected U-shaped relationship between credit worthiness and debt maturity. Size negatively influences debt maturity. Keywords: debt maturity, capital structure, small firms
We examine the neglected area of internationalisation by VCs. Using a representative sample of 195 VCs, we show that the decision of a European VC firm to invest internationally is driven by its human resources. Having more VC executives in general and more VC executives with previous international experience in specific, results in a higher probability of investing internationally. In contrast, more VC executives with experience in the VC industry or with an engineering background lead to a higher probability of remaining domestic.
Beuselinck, Christof; Manigart, Sophie (Vlerick Business School, 2005)
We argue and empirically show on a sample of 270 unquoted, private equity backed companies that the shareholder structure of private companies influences the quality of their accounting information. We show that companies in which private equity (PE) investors have a higher equity stake produce accounting information that is of lower quality than companies in which PE investors have a lower equity stake, controlling for company size and age. We argue that this is evidence that a large equity stake is a substitute for high earnings quality.
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