Date: 11 Mar 2010

Concentrated Ownership, No Dividend Payout Requirement and Capital Structure of REITs: Evidence from Turkey

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Abstract

This paper studies empirically the capital structure of Turkish REITs as they offer unique and so far untested angles. They do not have to pay out dividends, yet enjoy the exemption from paying corporate taxes since their legal foundation in 1998. Several financial meltdowns occurred in the last three decades, keeping investors with a doubt about Turkey’s financial and political stability. The last meltdown in 2001 is part of the sample period. Findings show that Turkish REITs employ little long-term debt in their capital structure. The legal requirement that a leader entrepreneur be present with a minimum equity position of 25% introduces the agency problem between the majority and minority owners. The leader entrepreneurs, as non-taxable institutional investors, appear to dictate Turkish REITs’ dividend and debt policies and deplete REITs’ dividends, causing them to go to the long-term debt market. The financial meltdown of 2001 exerts negative short-term and positive long-term influence on the debt ratios while inflation’s effect is negative. Firm size, REITs’ engagement in development and stock market development influence debt ratios positively; tangibility and a few firm, ownership, and country-specific determinants appear to have either mixed or no influence on Turkish REITs’ debt policies.