Capital Market-Based financing for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) is increasingly viewed as complementary to traditional bank-based financing for SMEs. In response, policymakers are recognising the need for better access of SMEs to capital markets and are making efforts to remove major impediments to their participation in capital markets. Thus, SMEs listed on stock exchanges benefit from better access to finance and reduced information asymmetry than their unlisted counterparts. This in turn shall lead to lower failure likelihood of listed SMEs. In this study, we empirically test this hypothesis and report that listed SMEs enjoy a lower likelihood of financial distress and bankruptcy than their unlisted counterparts. Although factors affecting financial distress of both listed and unlisted SMEs are almost identical, Average Marginal Effects of respective factors are strikingly higher for their unlisted counterparts. This suggests a higher vulnerability of unlisted SMEs due to changes in financial ratios. Due to the extremely low number of legal bankruptcy events, our hypothesis finds weak support when bankruptcy is used as the dependent variable in the regression analysis. Broadly, our findings support the view that stock exchange listing can relieve SMEs from external financing constraints, thus reducing their failure likelihood.
- Financial distress
- Small and medium-sized enterprises
- Credit risk