Internal Capital Markets in Times of Crisis: The Benefit of Group Affiliation in Italy

Raffaele Santioni, Fabio Schiantarelli, Philip E. Strahan

NBER Working Paper No. 23541
Issued in June 2017
NBER Program(s):Corporate Finance

Italy’s economic and banking systems have been under stress in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis and Euro Crisis. Firms in business groups have been more likely to survive this challenging environment, compared to unaffiliated firms. Better performance stems from access to an internal capital market, and the survival value of groups increases, inter alia, with group-wide cash flow. We show that actual internal capital transfers increase during the crisis, and these transfers move funds from cash-rich to cash-poor firms and also to those with more favorable investment opportunities. The ability to borrow externally provides additional funds that are shared across group affiliated firms. Our results highlight the benefits of internal capital markets when external capital markets are tight or distressed.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23541

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