Financing a Loss

David Rakowski, Eahab Elsaid


When companies have a net loss accompanied by negative operating cash flows, they must decide how to handle the financing deficit, or, stated differently, they must decide how to finance the loss.  By examining a large sample of firms with net losses, we document how companies respond to the financing shock that occurs with negative cash flow.  For companies with a one-year loss, current assets decrease and current liabilities increase.  While we observe that leverage ratios increase during a loss year, this increase has more to do with decreasing book equity than an increase in long-term debt.  However, when the loss persists into a second year, companies make more fundamental changes, often downsizing by decreasing fixed assets and by issuing longer term debt.

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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