We examine whether lenders use analyst forecasts of the borrower's earnings as inputs when establishing covenant thresholds in private debt contracts. We find that, among debt contracts that include an earnings covenant, earnings thresholds are set closer to analyst forecasts when analysts have historically issued more accurate earnings forecasts. These results are robust to firm fixed effects and an instrumental variable approach. Further, we find that, following a plausibly exogenous decline in the availability of analyst earnings forecasts, debt contracts are less likely to include earnings covenants. Our evidence is consistent with lenders using analyst earnings forecasts as an input when establishing debt covenant thresholds and suggests sell-side analysts play a role in debt contracting.
ABSTRACT We examine the relation between accounting conservatism and creditor recovery rates for firms in default. We also test the link between conservatism and the length of bankruptcy resolutions. We find that creditors of firms with more conservative accounting before default have significantly higher recovery rates, and that this positive relation is more pronounced for default firms that violated covenants before the default. We also find that conservative firms have higher asset productivity, shorter bankruptcy resolution, and a significantly higher probability of emerging from bankruptcy. These results suggest that accounting conservatism preserves firm value, leading to higher creditor recovery upon borrower default. JEL Classifications: M4; G32; G33; G34.