Working paper

Forecasting New Zealand corporate failures 2001-2010: opportunity lost?

Business New Zealand

Knowing whether an organization will fail is useful information for investors and other stakeholders. Looking to 36 New Zealand corporate failures (2001-2010), we find that anticipation of their demise was not clearly signalled in the public media. The question then emerges as to whether better forecasts of impending failure could have been derived from information that was publicly available at the time. The aim of this project is to identify the potential for having better anticipated these failures, and to consider implications of that found. Selecting thirteen indicators and three models from the literature, 25 failing and a matched 25 non-failing companies are compared using data up to three years prior to failure. Findings from ANOVA and Chi-Square tests reveal a majority of significant differences which grow closer to failure dates. We conclude that while using such information would have revealed indications of problems for individual companies, definitive assertions of impending failure would not have been justified. Nonetheless, corporate failure forecasts could have been of benefit to users, as long as such forecasts had been qualified as ‘concerns’.

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