Lukas Reznak


3 The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on the Performance of Czech Industrial Enterprises

Authors: Maria Reznakova, Michala Strnadova, Lukas Reznak


The global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 is associated mainly with the debt crisis. It quickly spread globally through financial markets, international banks and trade links, and affected many economic sectors. Measured by the index of the year-on-year change in GDP and industrial production, the consequences of the global financial crisis manifested themselves with some delay also in the Czech economy. This can be considered a result of the overwhelming export orientation of Czech industrial enterprises. These events offer an important opportunity to study how financial and macroeconomic instability affects corporate performance. Corporate performance factors have long been given considerable attention. It is therefore reasonable to ask whether the findings published in the past are also valid in the times of economic instability and subsequent recession. The decisive factor in effective corporate performance measurement is the existence of an appropriate system of indicators that are able to assess progress in achieving corporate goals. Performance measures may be based on non-financial as well as on financial information. In this paper, financial indicators are used in combination with other characteristics, such as the firm size and ownership structure. Financial performance is evaluated based on traditional performance indicators, namely, return on equity and return on assets, supplemented with indebtedness and current liquidity indices. As investments are a very important factor in corporate performance, their trends and importance were also investigated by looking at the ratio of investments to previous year’s sales and the rate of reinvested earnings. In addition to traditional financial performance indicators, the Economic Value Added was also used. Data used in the research were obtained from a questionnaire survey administered in industrial enterprises in the Czech Republic and from AMADEUS (Analyse Major Database from European Sources), from which accounting data of companies were obtained. Respondents were members of the companies’ senior management. Research results unequivocally confirmed that corporate performance dropped significantly in the 2010-2012 period, which can be considered a result of the global financial crisis and a subsequent economic recession. It was reflected mainly in the decreasing values of profitability indicators and the Economic Value Added. Although the total year-on-year indebtedness declined, intercompany indebtedness increased. This can be considered a result of impeded access of companies to bank loans due to the credit crunch. Comparison of the results obtained with the conclusions of previous research on a similar topic showed that the assumption that firms under foreign control achieved higher performance during the period investigated was not confirmed.

Keywords: Corporate Performance, foreign control, intercompany indebtedness, ratio of investment

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2 Threats to the Business Value: The Case of Mechanical Engineering Companies in the Czech Republic

Authors: Maria Reznakova, Michala Strnadova, Lukas Reznak


Successful achievement of strategic goals requires an effective performance management system, i.e. determining the appropriate indicators measuring the rate of goal achievement. Assuming that the goal of the owners is to grow the assets they invested in, it is vital to identify the key performance indicators, which contribute to value creation. These indicators are known as value drivers. Based on the undertaken literature search, a value driver is defined as any factor that affects the value of an enterprise. The important factors are then monitored by both financial and non-financial indicators. Financial performance indicators are most useful in strategic management, since they indicate whether a company's strategy implementation and execution are contributing to bottom line improvement. Non-financial indicators are mainly used for short-term decisions. The identification of value drivers, however, is problematic for companies which are not publicly traded. Therefore financial ratios continue to be used to measure the performance of companies, despite their considerable criticism. The main drawback of such indicators is the fact that they are calculated based on accounting data, while accounting rules may differ considerably across different environments. For successful enterprise performance management it is vital to avoid factors that may reduce (or even destroy) its value. Among the known factors reducing the enterprise value are the lack of capital, lack of strategic management system and poor quality of production. In order to gain further insight into the topic, the paper presents results of the research identifying factors that adversely affect the performance of mechanical engineering enterprises in the Czech Republic. The research methodology focuses on both the qualitative and the quantitative aspect of the topic. The qualitative data were obtained from a questionnaire survey of the enterprises senior management, while the quantitative financial data were obtained from the Analysis Major Database for European Sources (AMADEUS). The questionnaire prompted managers to list factors which negatively affect business performance of their enterprises. The range of potential factors was based on a secondary research – analysis of previously undertaken questionnaire surveys and research of studies published in the scientific literature. The results of the survey were evaluated both in general, by average scores, and by detailed sub-analyses of additional criteria. These include the company specific characteristics, such as its size and ownership structure. The evaluation also included a comparison of the managers’ opinions and the performance of their enterprises – measured by return on equity and return on assets ratios. The comparisons were tested by a series of non-parametric tests of statistical significance. The results of the analyses show that the factors most detrimental to the enterprise performance include the incompetence of responsible employees and the disregard to the customers‘ requirements.

Keywords: Performance Measurement, business value, financial ratios, value drivers

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1 Predicting Recessions with Bivariate Dynamic Probit Model: The Czech and German Case

Authors: Lukas Reznak, Maria Reznakova


Recession of an economy has a profound negative effect on all involved stakeholders. It follows that timely prediction of recessions has been of utmost interest both in the theoretical research and in practical macroeconomic modelling. Current mainstream of recession prediction is based on standard OLS models of continuous GDP using macroeconomic data. This approach is not suitable for two reasons: the standard continuous models are proving to be obsolete and the macroeconomic data are unreliable, often revised many years retroactively. The aim of the paper is to explore a different branch of recession forecasting research theory and verify the findings on real data of the Czech Republic and Germany. In the paper, the authors present a family of discrete choice probit models with parameters estimated by the method of maximum likelihood. In the basic form, the probits model a univariate series of recessions and expansions in the economic cycle for a given country. The majority of the paper deals with more complex model structures, namely dynamic and bivariate extensions. The dynamic structure models the autoregressive nature of recessions, taking into consideration previous economic activity to predict the development in subsequent periods. Bivariate extensions utilize information from a foreign economy by incorporating correlation of error terms and thus modelling the dependencies of the two countries. Bivariate models predict a bivariate time series of economic states in both economies and thus enhance the predictive performance. A vital enabler of timely and successful recession forecasting are reliable and readily available data. Leading indicators, namely the yield curve and the stock market indices, represent an ideal data base, as the pieces of information is available in advance and do not undergo any retroactive revisions. As importantly, the combination of yield curve and stock market indices reflect a range of macroeconomic and financial market investors’ trends which influence the economic cycle. These theoretical approaches are applied on real data of Czech Republic and Germany. Two models for each country were identified – each for in-sample and out-of-sample predictive purposes. All four followed a bivariate structure, while three contained a dynamic component.

Keywords: Czech Republic, Germany, bivariate probit, leading indicators, recession forecasting

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