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Critically Assess The Pecking Order Theory Of Capital Structure

1785 words - 7 pages

There is no universal theory of the debt-equity choice, and no reason to expect one. In this essay I will critically assess the Pecking Order Theory of capital structure with reference and comparison of publicly listed companies. The pecking order theory says that the firm will borrow, rather than issuing equity, when internal cash flow is not sufficient to fund capital expenditures. This theory explains why firms prefer internal rather than external financing which is due to adverse selection, asymmetry of information, and agency costs (Frank & Goyal, 2003). The trade-off theory comes from the pecking order theory it is an unintentional outcome of companies following the pecking-order theory. This explains that firms strive to achieve an optimal capital structure by using a mixture debt and equity known to act as an advantage leverage. Modigliani and Miller (1958) showed that the decisions firms make when choosing between debt and equity financing has no material effects on the value of the firm or on the cost or availability of capital. They assumed perfect and frictionless capital markets, in which financial innovation would quickly extinguish any deviation from their predicted equilibrium.
The pecking order theory suggests that firms have a particular preference order for capitalised to finance their businesses. Stewart Myers put forward the idea of pecking order theory in 1984 in which mangers will prefer to use retained earnings first and will issue new equity only as a last resort (Book Reference). Companies prioritize their sources of financing according to the principle of least effort, preferring to raise equity as a financing means of last resort. Wang & Lin (2010) how internal funds are used before debt and once this has been depleted to appropriate level, equity is issued. The pecking-order theory of firms’ financing patterns describes that companies would rather use internal equity to external financing. If the firms funding requirements are larger than their retained earnings, they must issue debt as this is preferred to issuing equity. Based on this theory, a firm’s financing policies could be viewed as signalling management’s view of the firm’s stock value (Wang & Lin 2010).Myers and Majluf (1984) also add that if firms issued no new securities but only used its retained earning to support the investment opportunities, the information asymmetric could be resolved. This suggests that issuing equity turn out to be more expensive as asymmetric information insiders and outsiders increase. Large firms should then issue debt to avoid selling under priced securities. As the requirement for external financing increases, businesses will work down the pecking order, from safe to riskier debt, perhaps to convertible securities or preferred stock, and finally to equity as a last resort. Each firm's debt ratio therefore reflects its cumulative requirement for external financing (Myers 2001).The pecking order theory clarifies why the bulk...

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