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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812

Abstract

MOTA, Jorge H.F.  and  MOREIRA, Antonio C.. Determinants of the capital structure of Portuguese firms with investments in Angola. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2017, vol.20, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 2222-3436.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v20i1.885.

BACKGROUND: This article seeks to complement the previous literature and clarify the particularities of the capital structure policy of firms with foreign direct investment in Angola. AIM: This article seeks to identify the determinants of the capital structure of Portuguese firms with direct investment in Angola and to understand whether the determinants normally considered by standard finance theory are in line with those used by firms when structuring their capital structure policy to participate in the specific market of Angola. SETTING: This article examines 26 large Portuguese firms with investments in Angola using econometric panel data for the period 2006-2010. METHODS: The study applied fixed and random effects methods and panel-corrected standard errors that maintain efficiency and unbiased behaviour even in the presence of panel-level heteroscedasticity and contemporaneous correlation of observations among panels. RESULTS: The results provide evidence that the determinants normally considered by standard finance theory are in fact - in terms of sign and coefficient dimension - those used by firms for structuring their capital structure policy when involved in the internationalisation process of entering Angola. Specifically, age, asset structure, return on assets and tangibility have a positive influence on the capital structure of Portuguese firms that have invested in Angola, while non-debt tax shields and liquidity have a negative influence on these companies' leverage ratios. When comparing our results with studies that have analysed the capital structure determinants of listed Portuguese firms - firms belonging to the PSI 20 Index and large firms in the Portuguese corporate sector - we found similarities in the sign and coefficient dimension of the determinants of capital structure. However, the profitability coefficient sign is in line with the trade-off framework (i.e. profitability is positively related to debt) but not with pecking order theory (i.e. profitability is negatively related to debt. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the high-growth Angolan market is seen by larger Portuguese firms as a low-risk diversification process because of the economic hardship Portugal has gone through, as well as cultural and linguistic similarities to Portugal. As such, the Angolan market is seen as an extension of the Portuguese domestic market that has increased potential. This scenario potentially reduces the firm default probability and the cost of debt. Maintaining the tax shield benefits of debt and decreasing the cost of debt - through a reduction in the default probability - have induced profitable firms to use more debt.

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