Factors influencing debt financing and its effects on financial performance of state corporations in Kenya
Nyamita, Micah Odhiambo
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Identifying the best level of debt financing within corporations and its determinants is one of the main issues in financial management theory, as the use of debt is believed to have an important influence on the performance of corporations. The majority of studies on debt financing have been undertaken using data from developed economies, focusing more on private sector non-financial corporations. This study investigated the factors influencing debt financing and whether the use of debt positively or negatively influences the financial performance of state corporations in Kenya. The “financial leverage”, which is the proportion of debt financing of state corporations in the Kenyan region, based on the total debt and the total assets, was the object of analysis for the period 2007 to 2011. Applying both descriptive and inferential statistics, and a hybrid of cross sectional and longitudinal quantitative surveys, primary data from questionnaires, and secondary data from the corporations’ financial statements, were utilized. The sample size used was 50 income generating state corporations in Kenya. Using the primary and secondary data, the study, in addition, determined the extent of debt financing and analysed the different types of debt financing used by the various state corporations. It focused on the use of financial ratio analysis to identify the financial performance of the corporations by applying a pooling of cross-section analysis. Moreover, the “financial leverage” ratio was analysed in correlation with the financial performance ratios, in order to identify the potential of anticipation for future financing options for state corporations in Kenya. Further, the regression analysis result was used to demonstrate whether there is a relationship between the corporation’s “financial leverage” and its financial performance ratios and the debt financing theory suitable for explaining debt capital structure within the state corporations. The panel data for financial performance helped in identifying whether there was a significant relationship between “financial leverage” of corporations and their financial performance. The results identified the main factors influencing debt financing within state-owned corporations in Kenya to include profitability, asset tangibility and corporation growth. It was also determined that debt financing is inversely related to financial performance of state-owned corporations in Kenya. In addition, the results revealed that state-owned corporations from developed and developing economies use capital market debt securities, such as bonds and notes, and derivative financial instruments, such as swaps, options and forward contracts. In contrast, these types of debt are not common within the Kenyan state-owned corporations. The developed and developing economies state-owned corporations are perceived to have embraced the new public sector financial management reforms agenda and operate in more developed and efficient capital markets. However, in Kenya, the new public sector financial management agenda may have not been implemented positively within the state-owned corporations and the country’s capital market may still be efficient. It is expected that the findings of this study would have vital policy implications for Kenyan state-owned corporations, in particular, and the government, in general.