Net deferred tax assets and the long-run performance of Initial Public Offerings

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Jost Kovermann ORCID logo, Patrick Velte ORCID logo

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On average, firms’ going public severely underperform compared to the market, a phenomenon which is widely known in the literature as IPO underperformance. Though there is no generally accepted theory on the reasons, information asymmetries and the scarcity of information on the issuers is generally considered to contribute to the phenomenon. Accounting data provided by issuers in the offering prospectuses is mostly backward-looking information that is of limited use in forming expectations of future performance. This problem becomes even more pressing, given the increasing fraction of loss firms among IPOs.
Net deferred tax assets (NDTA), however, are a balance sheet item that can be expected to include forward-looking information on future earnings. Reporting under IFRS, firms may recognize NDTA only to the extent, that positive income will be available in future periods. We, therefore, expect NDTA to be positively associated with the long-run performance of IPOs. Investigating a sample of firms going public in Germany between 2005 and 2015, we find that NDTA are positively associated with long-run stock price performance. The association is particularly strong among loss firms.
Our findings are relevant especially to investors, who regularly have difficulties valuing loss firms. We show that firms which recognized NDTA perform much better in the aftermarket than those that do not have NDTA on the balance sheet. The most important lesson to be learned is that IPO firms that did not recognize NDTA will likely be very poor investments.

Keywords: Initial Public Offering, IPO, Underperformance, Deferred Taxes, Deferred Tax Assets

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization – J.K.; Methodology – J.K.; Formal Analysis – J.K.; Resources – P.V.; Writing – J.K. and P.V.; Supervision – P.V.

JEL Classification: L25, L26, M14

Received: 21.06.2019
Accepted: 07.08.2019
Published online: 08.08.2019

How to cite this paper: Kovermann, J., & Velte, P. (2019). Net deferred tax assets and the long-run performance of Initial Public Offerings. Corporate Ownership & Control, 16(4), 111-127.