Corporate Financing Policies Of Multinational Corporations Economics Essay

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In today's globalized world Foreign Direct investments are becoming more and more important for succeeding in an increasingly high competitive environment. Global players are fighting for access to resources or for new markets to sell their products to. The growing global competition is driving European multinational companies to seek continuously for investment opportunities around the globe. Emerging market economies seem to be one target for those investment opportunities, which can be shown by increasing foreign direct investment flows towards those economies. Data provided by the OECD (presented in Table 1) confirm this development for the recent years.

Investing in Emerging market economies is not just an opportunity for the MNC to develop itself but is also a chance for the target country to accelerate growth of the local market. As foreign direct investments provide financial resources and sometimes knowhow to mine primary resources or to build production facilities and can hence help increasing employment rates or the growth domestic product of an emerging country.

This is why an emerging country has a reasonable interest in advertising investment opportunities in its home market and attracting foreign companies. One tool for a foreign investor to evaluate the circumstances of the macro environment of a country is consulting country risk rankings, which give first indications of political stability and investment opportunities. Previous researches (Chakrabarti 2001, Krifa-Schneider 2010 ) have shown a link between the country risk evaluation and the related foreign direct investment flows, based on a global analyses approach.

One of the target regions discussed in this paper is Latin America. Over the last decades Europe has intensified the communications with various countries in Latin America and has signed various cooperation agreements with different countries in order to decrease trade barriers and increase trade between Europe and Latin America. Unfortunately Latin America has difficulties in finding one mutual attitude for foreign policies. That is why there are many different agreements with Europe and different countries within Latin America. Nevertheless, since the 1990s one cooperation of four countries has been created and called Mercosur [2] . This union include more than 260 million citizens and a GDP of 1 Billion USD.

Table : FDI stocks in Latin America by European MNC (in Million Euros) [3] 

Table 2 explains well the development of FDI to the target region Mercosur. It has continuously increased over the last 10 years and therefore show the significance of this target region for FDI from European MNC.

4.2 Asia

The second target region being discussed in this research paper is Asia. With a total population of 4 billion human beings, this area is extremely big and worth investigating. In order to be persistent within the analyzed regions, 5 countries from Asia have been selected that accumulate more than 50 % of the population of Asia. This research will include the data from China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.

The mentioned countries have been known over the last decades for cheap labor costs. Many MNC tried to enter the market, as the market size itself promised great business opportunities. But also the cheap production was a key stimulation for moving business unites towards Asia. Table 3 shows the increasing FDI stocks in Asia by European MNC which confirms the push towards Asia.


It is interesting to observe that although the total market size, in terms of population, for the Asia sample is eight times bigger than Latin America's market size, the total stock of FDI in both regions for the same period is similar.

One explanation for this could be the cultural proximity of Spain and Portugal towards Latin America. As the language barriers between Europe and Asia are not as important as compared to Asia, the cultural proximity could be one driver for this phenomenon of similar FDI stocks for the last 10 years.

The following part will now discuss the theoretical background for the research and will then lead to the research question.

5. Literature Review

5.1 Background

This Master thesis analyses the risk evaluation of FDI through MNC in emerging markets. More precisely, what kinds of influences impact the investment decisions of European MNC in order to evaluate possible investments in foreign markets.

The aim of this literature review is to understand the different determents of the research topic more into detail and to precise the final research question.

In chronological order this section discusses the definition of Foreign Direct Investments, emerging markets and finally deal with the risk evaluation of investments.

5.1 Foreign Direct Investment

5.1.1 FDI history

After the Second World War Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) became more and more popular. With the globalization and its increased cross-border commercial activities also the FDI activities increased over time. Table 4 gives a good impression on the global FDI flow development over the last decades.

Although the financial crises led to a hard decline of Global FDI in 2008/09 a recent survey say that global FDIs are about to recover in the next 2 years (UNCTAD - Global Trends in FDI, 2010, page 19).

Table : Development of FDI flows in the World

5.1.2 FDI Definition

Over time, the literature has developed many different definitions for FDI. Among those two official definitions given by the OECD and the International Monetary Fond can be found.


"The numerical guideline of ownership of 10 per cent of ordinary shares or voting stock determines the existence of a direct investment relationship. An effective voice in the management, as evidenced by an ownership of at least 10 per cent, implies that the direct investor is able to influence or participate in the management of an enterprise; it does not require absolute control by the foreign investor" (7 and 8 OECD Benchmark Definition).

International Monetary Fund (IMF):

"Foreign direct investment enterprise is an enterprise (institutional unit) in the financial or non-financial corporate sectors of the economy in which a non-resident investor owns 10 per cent or more of the voting power of an incorporated enterprise or has the equivalent ownership in an enterprise operating under another legal structure." (Definition of FDI Terms - IMF - 2004)

According to the IMF foreign investments can be divided into FDI and Foreign Portfolio Equity Investment [FPEI]. Until the 1960's economic theory did not differentiate much between FDI and FPEI.

In the 1960s Hymer explained that Multinational Enterprises [MNE] transferred a whole package of resources across borders. This happens mainly from the mother company towards the subsidiary. The main goal here is for the mother company to gain control over the production processes in the subsidiary. Later, Dunning (1988, 2000) enlarges Hymer's ideas in his OLI paradigm or Eclectic Paradigm. This paradigm explains the different influences that make a FDI worth conducting. Not only the control is essential for the decision process for FDIs but also other advantages that the FDI decision might bring along. This paradigm explains FDIs through three different factors; Ownership, Location and Internationalization. (FDI = O+L+I)


This advantage is based on Hymer's claim that having the control over the production processes of a subsidiary is the most important thing to have. This means gaining eventually access to natural resources, patent rights or knowledge is key for a FDI.


This aims at explaining the choice for a FDI through locational advantages. Those can be separated into three categories; economic, political and social advantages. If a MNE decides on a host for its FDI taxation differences, government policies or just telecommunication costs can influence the decision making process.


Sometimes it is very hard or expensive for companies to enter foreign markets. In order to bypass any market entry barriers MNE decides to invest in foreign companies. For example high import taxations can drive companies to produce locally in the foreign markets. If these thoughts matter in the decision making process we can call this Internationalization advantages.

The current OECD's definition for FDI describes the target of an investor as gaining part or all of control in the invested company in the target country. Therefore the OECD's definition is synonymous with Hymer's definition (Hymer, 1960). This research will use the OECD definition when referring to FDIs.

5.2 Emerging Economies

Generally spoken one can divide emerging economies into two main groups. On the one hand we have the developing countries such as Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and on the other hand we have the transitional countries such as China or Russia (Hoskisson et al. 2000: p249; Gilpin, 2001: p333).

It is important to know that there is no standard definition that has been commonly agreed on in order to define emerging countries. This can be explained due to the fact that the terminology itself has not got a long history. In recent years scientist started to describe emerging countries in various ways. In addition, most of the countries have different starting points for their developing economy and have arrived at different stages upon today (Hoskisson et al. 2000: p259; Hooke, 2001: p15).

One way of describing an emerging economy is defining it as a promising high growth market, with a high level of uncertainty, using economic liberalization as a major driver of growth (Arnold and Quelch, 1998: p8).

In 2000 Tudor described emerging markets by what they 'are not', rather than by what they 'are' (Tudor, 2000: p7; Kolodko, 2003: p13).

The International Finance Corporation defines the Emerging markets as follows: 'The term emerging market can imply that a process of change is under way, with stock markets growing in size and sophistication, in contrast to markets that are small and stagnant'. This definition could also be applied to developed markets as all markets have a certain potential for development.

Table : Number of countries with a GDP per capita of less than 9000$Hooke (2001: p15) considers emerging markets to be poor countries. This means that those countries have a per capita income of less than US$ 9,000 per year. According to the data of the IMF in the year 2010, 148 nations fitted this definition. Table 5 [5] illustrates the decrease of emerging countries over the last 30 years. Other possible naming for these countries include: developing nations, low-income countries or Third World.

Table : GDP based on PPP per Capita (2010)

Table 6 is a graphical illustration of the current global situation on the GDP based on PPP [6] per Capita. It can be seen that most of the countries on the globe are colored in colors that indicate emerging economies.

This literature shows that it is difficult to define emerging economies. This paper will define emerging economies by grouping countries by their GDP per capita.

There are potential benefits of entering emerging economies. These benefits, which can be higher than investing in developed countries, are often connected to higher risks due to political, macro-economic, currency and information disadvantages (Hooke, 2001: p98; Khanna et al. 2005: p63).

Investigating these non-financial risks will be the goal of this thesis. Before doing so, the different risk determents will be discussed in the following section.

5.3 Risk

One basic principal of investing money into a project, both on national or international markets, is being rewarded for the risk taken. The higher the risk, the higher the expected reward for an investment.

Many of the risks in foreign and emerging markets are similar to the ones on local markets. Nevertheless, MNC have to address also new risks, which they haven't faced on the local markets before.

The following sections will discuss briefly the ordinary risk measures and will then address in more detail an additional risk for investing money in foreign markets.

5.3.1 Ordinary risk measurement tools for FDI in Emerging Markets

Regarding to CMCG Working Group on FDI in Emerging Market Countries (2003) there are different tools in order to measure the risk or the exposure of FDI in emerging economies. It is said that companies use, beyond other tools, for example the hurdle rate to control the risk of an investment. The hurdle rate is the expected return, on a long run, of an investment and thus helps to decide whether to invest or not in a project. Some companies apply the WACC (the weighted average cost of capital) of the parent company in order to determine the hurdle rate.

Table 7 [7] describes different influences that have to be taken into account when a MNC evaluates the risk of investing into an emerging market (Carl Olsson, 2002).

Table : Risk Management in Emerging Markets

One could start with the influences through the economic environment. The different determents that could influence the decision of an investment are: local interest rates, FX rates, GDP growth rate, inflation, taxation levels and others.

Then, the physical resources are of crucial importance for the investment decision. The accessibility to primary products or technology is often key for a successful investment.

The social factors such as population size, education levels, work ethic, religion and other variables determine whether or not a company will have sufficient access to good and qualified human capital.

The business risk is always an influence that has an effect on the decision for or against an investment. This risk is the fundamental risk that a company faces on domestic and foreign markets. It explains if a company can achieve its targets, thanks to the right strategy and resources put in place.

Finally the political climate is worth investigating for a company going abroad. Questions such as "Who runs the country?", "Are democratic governments ruling the country?", "Is the legal system independent and fair towards foreign countries?" and many more questions. "Large democratic countries with a sound legal framework that protects business rights will obviously be more attractive than underdeveloped, autocratically run countries whose leaders seek to satisfy personal rather than national interests." (Olsson, 2002, p33).

The political risk is the most fascinating factor, as it is very hard to measure and difficult to predict. Many others have discussed political risks and investigated the influence of this risk on foreign direct investments. In the following part a further inside into the literature on country risk (political risk) will be given.

5.3.2 Country Risk

For many years scientists have researched country risk in the field of international business relations. Kobrin(1979) published a collection of researches on political risk that had been conducted in the years up to 1979. It has always been difficult to define and agree on political risk. Fitzpatrick(1983) wrote about this problem and published ideas on how to handle this.

Another problem is that the choice of naming country risk differs from one author to the other. As described in the section before Olsson (2002) used political risk. Further he distinguishes between political risk and country risk. Other authors use both names for describing the same risk.

For Howell and Chaddick (1994, p. 71) political risk is the "possibility that political decisions, events, or conditions in a country, including those that might be referred to as social, will affect the business environment such that investors will lose money or have a reduced profit margin." Olsson(2002,p35) defines political risk as "the risk that there will be a change in the political framework of the country".

Country risk refers to a "broad range of actions taken by (or permitted by) the sovereign power that have unfavorable consequences for foreign investors" (Herring 1983). Olsson defines country risk as "the risk that a foreign currency will not be available to allow payments due to be paid because of a lack of foreign currency or the government rationing that which is available"(Olsson, 2002, p.51).

As there are so many different definitions we have to define in this paper the risk naming. We distinguish between country risk and political risk. As the data will be taken from the Euromoney publications over the last 10 years we will streamline our wording with the definitions from the Euromoney magazine. The political risk is only one of the different components that influences the overall country risk. Euromoney defines political risk as follows: "The risk of non-payment or non-servicing of payment for goods or services, loans, trade-related finance and dividends, and non-repatriation of capital." [8] 

Besides this political risk, Euromoney uses many more components in order to define country risk. Those include economic performance, credit ratings, access to short-term finance, access to capital markets and some other indicators. Thus Euromoney defines country risk with many different components at the same time and calculates a mean of the different factors in order to determine the country risk.

It can be observed that, besides in model 2, all the variables show a significant impact at a 5 % level on the dependent variable. In contrary to the initial assumption of a positive correlation between the overall score and the Europe FDI it has to be acknowledged that the relation between those two is quite the opposite. If the environment has a higher risk level (decrease of the overall score) the FDI flows appear to increase. This conclusion can be drawn by the negative value of the Beta for the said variables. The same effect can be observed in Model 3 and 4 for the variables Political Risk and Access to Bank.

Variables that have not been included in Model 4 did not show any significance for the regression and were therefore excluded. A detailed table of the excluded variables can be found in the appendix Table : Excluded variables from the first regression estimation.

Starting with a first comparison of the correlations between the dependent variable and the independent Europe FDI, Table : Correlation Comparison - 2 regression estimation shows different significant correlations for the two regions. In Asia Access to Bank is positive correlated at a significant level of 5 % and in Latin America Access to capital markets and Dept indicator appear to be positive related at a 5 % significant level. In neither of the areas the overall score appears to be correlated at a significant level.

During the regression model creation for both regions the stepwise variable selection has been applied just as explained before. For both regions only one variable in each of those regression estimations had a significant explanatory power for the regression. Table : 2 regression estimation shows that in Latin America the economic performance has a significant impact at a 5% level whereas in Asia Access to finance was selected as an explanatory variable at a 5 % significance level. In neither of the two regions the overall score appears to have an explanatory power.

Yet, Table : Model evaluation Europe - Asia and Table :MODEL EVALUATION EUROPE - Latin America show that both regression models have a explanatory power to estimate Europe FDI with the depended variables chosen. The model for Asia is significant at a 5 % level and the model for Latin America is significant at a 1% level.

The following and last section of this paper will now evaluate the mentioned results with regards to the research questions.

8.2. Impacts on the Research Question

8.2.1. Answer to research question 1:

The global result presented in 8.1 allows the following interpretation. It can be observed that the model 1 with the dependent variable "Overall score" is significant at a 5% level. The model 1 in table 11 shows a F-Value of 4,04 at significance level of 5%. Hence H1 [16] can be proofed, H0 can be rejected and a significant influence of country risk on FDI can be examined.

As the adjusted R Value was rather small this result has to be interpreted with certain caution. Still, the negative correlation between overall score (Beta<0) and Europe FDI indicates that European MNC very well consider the macro environment conditions of an emerging country before investing. European MNC tend to invest in rather riskier environments than safer ones. The negative correlation indicates this as a lower risk score (riskier environment) implicates higher FDI flows towards Emerging market countries.

8.2.2 Answer to research question 2:

Now it is interesting to go one step further and consider the result from model 4 in section 8.2 which demonstrates a significant explanatory power of "Political Risk" and "Access to bank". Taking the different determent scores of the overall score instead of the overall score itself a more detailed picture appears on FDI flows. The F-Value for model 4 in table 11 is 7,066 and is significant at a 1% level. H0 can hence be rejected and H1 [17] accepted.

Interestingly, the explanatory independent variable "Political Risk" is also negatively correlated to "Europe FDI". This stresses again the fact that European MNC seek more "dangerous" environments to invest their money. Less risky environments appear not to be as interesting as risky environments.

8.2.3. Answer to research question 3

While separating the two geographical sections, other explanatory variables are important in the models. Where for Latin America the "Dept indicator" is significant, in Asia the "economy performance" seems to influence the regression most. Compare therefore Table : 2 regression estimation.

Having different independent variables for different regions indicate that European MNC do analyze the environment for their FDI with caution and do not just trust one indicator for FDI around the world.

8.3. Conclusion and Management Implications

Country risk impacts the decision of FDI from European MNC in emerging countries. This has been demonstrated by the undertaken analysis. Yet, it is worth examining the different facets that are connected to this first statement. What is country risk and which geographical areas are being examined?

This thesis shows that FDI flows depend first on a macroeconomic impression of a target country by a European MN. This is demonstrated by the significant explanatory power of the overall score over Europe FDI. Second, it FDI flows are related to "Political Risk" and "Access to Bank". Third, FDI flows determents differ from one region to another ones the regional area is more specified.

The negative correlation of both "Overall score" and "Political risk" towards "Europe FDI" opens the question if FDIs to emerging countries can be explained by greater return on investment expectations due to greater country risk assumption.

Eventually MNC that haven't yet taken the decision to invest in riskier geographical regions are well advised to consider investing into riskier countries, as it seems to be an indicator for selecting a foreign target market.

It is at least worthwhile investigating the investment opportunities in a rather riskier environment. If the mean of the MNC wouldn't have found it interesting to invest in riskier environments over the last 10 years, the result of this research would have been different. There might be investment opportunities everywhere even though the public perception of the target region is negative. It is therefore important to do the effort of considering into detail investment opportunities in emerging markets.

For the governments of emerging markets it is important to understand that FDI inflows are not connected to an overall positive perception of the own country. If emerging countries aim on increasing FDI inflows from European MNC they should not trust widely accessible country risk ranking results. It might be necessary for a government to evaluate the attractiveness for each industry or sector in the country and do the best to enhance the opportunities for foreign investors.

Me personally, I was surprised by the negative correlation of overall Score to Europe FDI as this correlation has been demonstrated in earlier studies only for Chinese FDI outflows [18] . It is interesting to see that European MNC tend to have the same investment manners as Chinese countries have.

9. Bibliography