Financial Structure: A Comparative Study between European Listed and Unlisted Companies

  •  Carmelo Intrisano    
  •  Anna Paola Micheli    
  •  Anna Maria Calce    


This paper aims to ascertain whether differences exist in the composition of the financial sources in listed and unlisted companies.

In detail, we conduct a differential analysis of the financial structure, measured as debt to equity ratio (D/E), comparing European listed companies to unlisted peers. Analysis cover the period 2015-2017. The main samples of listed and unlisted companies were grouped in nine sub samples representative of as many economic sectors: Healthcare, Consumer cyclical, Consumer non-cyclical, Energy, Industrials, Basic materials, Technology, Telecommunications and Utilities. We compared the average value of debt to equity ratio for listed and unlisted companies, for different sectors in order to verify if in listed companies the incidence of debt is lower than that for unlisted ones as stated from the majority literature. Then, we calculated the differences between means as “means of D/E for listed companies-means of D/E for unlisted companies” and we used the t-test to observe the statistical significance. Results showed that differences between means were significant at 1% level: so, averages D/E ratio were comparable and they appeared almost always greater for unlisted companies. This confirms that unlisted companies make greater use of debt capital.

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