Trade credit arises from delayed payments between firms. It is not easy to identify its determinants since they are connected to organisational, technical, commercial and financial factors. In this paper we empirically examine the determinants of the usage of trade credit by Italian industrial firms. We use an original database that contains detailed information from an ad hoc survey of Bank of Italy on trade credit, from Italian Central Credit Register on banking relations and from firms’ balance sheet. The focus of the paper concerns the role of financial reasons among the determinants of trade credit demand. The Bank of Italy survey shows that financial motives are less frequent than transactive ones; nevertheless we find a positive correlation between financial reasons and the amount of accounts payable, while the opposite occurs for firms that delay the payments to their suppliers in order to control the quality of purchased goods. The main findings of our empirical analysis are: i) financial determinants of trade credit demand are more frequent among firms in financial distress (rationed firms, firms with lower unused lines of credit and firms with a higher cost of credit); ii) firms in financial distress and firms in trouble have more accounts payable; iii) finally, these firms do not obtain from their suppliers a higher amount of accounts payable (or more delayed payments) but they are able to increase their usage of trade credit by paying over the due date.
Published in 2005 in: L. Cannari, S. Chiri, M. Omiccioli (a cura di), Imprese o intermediari? Aspetti finanziari e commerciali del credito tra imprese in Italia, Bologna, il Mulino