Does Financial Performance Influence Credit Ratings? An analysis of Korean KRX Firms

MALI, Dafydd and LIM, Hyoungjoo (2015). Does Financial Performance Influence Credit Ratings? An analysis of Korean KRX Firms. Korean Journal of Business Administration, 28 (11), 2765-2784.

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Credit rating agencies offer information about default risk. Previous literature suggests that firm’s credit ratings are influenced by various metrics, specifically, numerous risk considerations such as size, leverage and growth. However, there is limited evidence to support the relationship between credit ratings and financial performance. Our research is motivated by this caveat. The purpose of this paper is to discover if financial performance measures can be included as an indicator for default risk since the relation between financial performance and default risk/credit rating is a question left unanswered in a South Korean context. In this paper, we empirically test if financial performance measures can provide additional information about credit ratings and credit rating changes. We perform a battery of tests to establish if the following financial performance measures: EPS, CPS, ROA, ROE, and ROS have any explanatory power in explaining credit ratings levels and credit rating changes. Using a sample from 2002 to 2013, we find that EPS and CPS has a statistically positive relation to credit ratings, suggesting that firms with higher credit ratings have higher levels of EPS and CPS compared to firms with lower credit ratings. Moreover, we find that firms with positive performance measured by EPS and CPS in period t have the potential to experience a credit ratings change in period t+1. However, in South Korea, the majority of firms do not experience a credit ratings change. When we estimate the financial performance of the firms that do not experience a credit ratings change, we find a statistically significant relation between credit rating and financial performance for EPS and CPS. The results suggest that credit ratings for firms with positive financial performance remain stable Finally, we examine the relation between performance in period t and credit ratings increase and decrease in period t+1. The results suggest that the credit ratings of firms with high level of financial performances increase or remain the same. We do not find a relation between financial performance and credit rating decreases; this result may be due to our small sample size. The previous literature has largely ignored the association between credit ratings and performance. Taken together, our results suggests that EPS and CPS can be used as financial performance measures by investors, government agencies and debt issuers as additional information about a firms credit rating levels, and subsequent changes. We contribute to the literature by providing empirical evidence of a relationship between performance metrics and credit ratings, specifically the link between EPS.

Item Type: Article
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School > Department of Finance, Accountancy and Business Systems
Identification Number:
Page Range: 2765-2784
Depositing User: Dafydd Mali
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2018 11:14
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 02:54

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