Suppliers as Liquidity Insurers
IWH Discussion Papers,
We examine how financial constraints in portfolios of suppliers affect cash holdings at the level of the customer. Utilizing a data set of private and public French companies and their suppliers, we show that customers rely on their financially unconstrained suppliers to provide them with backup liquidity, and that they stockpile approximately 10% less cash than customers with constrained suppliers. This effect persisted during the global financial crisis, highlighting that suppliers may be viable insurers of liquidity even when financing from banks and other external channels is unavailable. We further show that customers with unconstrained suppliers also simultaneously receive more trade credit; that the reduction in cash holdings is greater for firms with stronger ties to their unconstrained suppliers; and that customers reduce their cash holdings following a significant relaxation in their suppliers’ financial constraints through an IPO. Taken together, the results provide important nuance regarding the implications of supplier portfolios and financial constraints on firm liquidity management.
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Payment Defaults and Interfirm Liquidity Provision
Review of Finance,
Using a unique data set on French firms, we show that credit constrained firms that face liquidity shocks are more likely to default on their payments to suppliers. Credit constrained firms pass on a sizeable fraction of such shocks to their suppliers. This is consistent with the idea that firms provide liquidity insurance to each other and that this mechanism is able to alleviate credit constraints. We show that the chain of defaults stops when it reaches unconstrained firms. Liquidity appears to be allocated from firms with access to outside finance to credit constrained firms along supply chains.