There exists divergence of opinion in literature on the relationship between capital structure and firms financial performance. This mix of opinions makes the direction of the relationship between debt holders and equity holders to be controversial. Therefore, this study investigated the impact of capital structure on financial performance of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria. The study formulated four hypotheses and used generalized least square multiple regression to analyze the secondary data extracted from the annual reports and accounts of the 31 sampled firms for the period 2012 to 2018. The study found that total debt, long-term debt and short-term debt have significant impact on the financial performance of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria. The study also found that total debt to total equity has no significant effect on the financial performance of the firms. In view of the findings, it is recommended among others that the management of listed manufacturing firms should work very hard to increase the short term debt to total assets component of their capital structure, since it has positive impact on their financial performance. Also, the firms should reduce the level of total debt to total assets and long term debt to total assets in their capital structure components, because they affect their financial performance negatively.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
The nature and extent of relationship between capital structure and financial performance of firms have attracted attention in the literature of finance. Capital structure involves the decision about the combination of the various sources of funds a firm uses to finance its operations and capital investments. These sources include the use of long-term debt finance called debt financing, as well as preferred stock and common stock also called equity financing. One of the most important goals of financial managers is to maximize shareholders wealth through determination of the best combination of financial resources for a company and maximization of the company’s value by determining where to invest their resources.
Capital structure represents the major claims to a corporation’s asset. This includes the different types of equities and liabilities (Riahi-Belkaoui, 1999). The debt-equity mix can take any of the following forms: 100% equity: 0% debt, 0% equity: 100% debt; and X% equity: Y% debt. From these three alternatives, the first option is that of the unlevered firm, that is, the firm shuns the advantage of leverage (if any). Option two is that of a firm that has no equity capital. This option may not actually be realistic or possible in the real life economic situation, because no provider of funds will invest money in a firm without equity capital. This partially explains the term “trading on equity”, that is, the equity element that is present in the firm’s capital structure that encourages the debt providers to give their scarce resources to the business. The third Option is the most realistic one in that, it combined both a certain percentage of debt and equity in the capital structure and thus, the advantages of leverage (if any) is exploited. This mix of debt and equity has long been a subject of debate in finance literature concerning its determination, evaluation and accounting.
Financial performance is the measure of how well a firm can use its assets from its primary business to generate revenues. Erasmus (2008) noted that financial performance measures like profitability and liquidity among others provide a valuable tool to stakeholders which aids in evaluating the past financial performance and current position of a firm. Financial performance evaluation are designed to provide answers to a broad range of important questions, some of which include whether the company has enough cash to meet all its obligations, is it generating sufficient volume of sales to justify recent investment. Capital structure is closely linked with financial performance (Tian and Zeitun, 2007). Financial performance can be measured by variables which involve productivity, profitability, growth or, even, customers‟ satisfaction. These measures are related among each other. Financial measurement is one of the tools which indicate the financial strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Those measurements are return on investment (ROI), residual income (RI), earning per share (EPS), dividend yield, return on assets (ROA), growth in sales, return on equity (ROE) e.t.c (Stanford, 2009).
1.2 Statement of Problem
There has been an ongoing debate on the issue of capital structure and financial performance of firms. This controversy is further narrowed down to identifying which of the variables debated is most influential in predicting and determining the capital structure of manufacturing firms. The choice of optimal capital structure of a firm is difficult to determine. A firm has to issue various securities in a countless mixture to come across particular combinations that can maximize its overall value which means optimal capital structure. Optimal capital structure also means that with a minimum weighted- average cost of capital, the value of a firm is maximized.
According to Rahul (1997), poor capital structure decisions may lead to a possible reduction in the value derived from strategic assets. Hence, the capability of a company in managing its financial policies is important if the firm is to realize gains from its specialized resources. The nature and extent of relationship between capital structure and financial performance of firms have attracted the attention of many researchers. The studies, which are largely foreign based, have however revealed conflicting findings.
In Nigeria, most of the studies did not use other components on capital structure and financial performance. The studies which include Bello and Onyesom (2005), Salawu(2007), Olokoyo (2012), Babalola (2012), Yinusa and Babalola (2012), Sabastian and Rapuluchukwu (2012) and Idode, Adeleke, Ogunlowo and Ashogbon (2014) have left a gap that need to be filled. For example, Salawu (2007), who studied the effect of capital structure on financial performance of selected quoted companies in Nigeria between 1990 and 2004 concentrated on short term debt. His study did not extend to other forms of financing, thus the finding could only be used in the context of short term debt financing. This means even within the purview of debt financing; only the short term aspect of the debt was covered in his study. In reality, a study on capital structure is supposed to cover both types of debt financing. Babalola (2012) who also studied the effect of optimal capital structure on firm’s performance in Nigeria between 2000 to 2009 using samples of 10 firms, concentrated on total debt to total assets. His study excluded the aspect of total debt to equity, short term debt to total assets and long term debt to total assets financing despite the fact that both types of debt financing are used by the sampled firms. More so, his study and those of Bello and Onyesom (2005) and Olokoyo (2012) used Chi- square technique to analyze their data. Chi-square is considered deficient in terms of reflecting time variant and specific characteristic issues. Studies on capital structure and performance of firms are supposed to use parametric techniques that measure both time variant and specific characteristic issues. Furthermore, the study of Yinusa and Babalola (2012) examined the impact of corporate governance on capital structure decision often (10) firms in the food and beverage sector during the period from 2000 to 2009.
They used total debt to total assets ratio as proxy of capital structure. The study did not cover other components or types of debt financing such as total debt to total equity, short- term debt and long-term debt. Additionally, Sebastian and Rapuluchukwu (2012) that studied the impact of capital structure and liquidity on corporate returns of manufacturing firms between 2002 to 2006, focused on short-term debt, long-term debt and total debt without including total debt to total equity financing. The study failed to use total debt to total equity as variable of debt financing. Idode, Adeleke, Ogunlowore and Ashogbon (2014) in their study of the influence of capital structure on profitability of banks in Nigeria for the period of 2008 to 2012 covered both debt financing and equity financing. However, they ignored short- term debt and long-term debt which constitute other important forms of financing for manufacturing companies in Nigeria. Owing to these identified gaps, a study that will cover the various forms of financing mix in order to address the following questions that remain unanswered is desirable: to what extent do total debt to total assets ratio, total debt to total equity ratio, and the ratios of short-term and long term debt to total assets affect the performance of manufacturing firms in Nigeria? This study attempts to provide answers to this fundamental question.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The overall objective of this study is to examine the impact of capital structure on the financial performance of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to:
i. evaluate the extent to which total debt to total asset ratio affect financial performance of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria;
ii. Determine the effect of total debt to total equity ratio on financial performance of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria;
iii. Examine the impact of short-term debt to total assets ratio on financial performance of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria; and
iv assess the influence of long-term debt to total assets ratio on financial performance of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria.