The Bonds Offerings of German SMEs: Between Mittelstand and Junk Bonds

Joël Petey Université de Strasbourg et LaRGE-EM Strasbourg. Contact : joel.petey@unistra.fr.


This article is motivated by the strong increase of the bonds offerings of small and medium (SME) German firms observed between 2008 and 2012. These bonds are in particular characterized by their high nominal rates compared to bank credit. The economic and financial characteristics of these issuers suggest that they might be more financially constrained than comparable non-issuers. Moreover, this effect is stronger when issuers use the offering’s proceeds to refinance existing debt, suggesting that some firms decide to issue bonds because they have lost access to bank credit. This leads to consider the risk of these bonds. An analysis of the yields indeed clearly shows that this market has a highly, but limited, speculative segment.


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