Trade credit is an important way of firm financing. Its habitual practice and the excessive enlargement of the payment periods deteriorate profitability of firms and even could affect the performance of the financial system. In spite of the relevance of this issue there are few empirical researches with Spanish firms. This work intends to fill this gap and to shed light on the factors related to the extension of trade credit in a set firms of the agrofood industry. In the theoretic and empirical literature different motives have been proposed to explain the extension of trade credit: a mechanism to reduce transaction costs, a financial alternative to the bank system and an additional tool to improve commercial activities. To contrast these ideas a panel of 388 firms for the period 1998-2005 has been taken, and static and dynamic regression models have been estimated by using robust methods to heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation and endogeneity of the explanatory variables. The results confirm that trade credit receivable is associated with more active firms and with cheaper bank financing. Furthermore, a negative link with the size of the firm and a positive relationship with short-term liabilities, accounts payable and bank debts, are encountered. These findings are consistent with commercial perspectives, rather than a pure financial view, in the sense that small and financial distressed producers extend trade credit as a way of promoting products and increasing sales.


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