The effect of corporate donations on a company’s market value in a short-term perspective : An event study approach

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för industriell ekonomi; Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för industriell ekonomi

Abstract: Background: Societies around the world have seen an increased willingness to contribute to social responsibilities activities. One way for corporations to commit to corporate social responsibility (CSR) have been to donate corporate assets. However, donating company assets has been questioned if justifiable. Arguments ranging from the missuses of assets to increased competitive advantage as a part of corporate strategy have been mentioned in connection to corporate donations. These different opinions have created an uncertainty of how corporate donations ultimately will affect a company’s market value. Objective: The objective of this thesis is to distinguish if corporate donations have a significant effect on a company’s market value. It is further examined if different amounts or recipient area of a donation significantly impacts the response to the donation. The aim is to understand if the donation amount is lost or if donating can create value for a company, possibly helping to motivate managers to donate and thus create value for our society. Method: An event-study methodology approach was used to examine abnormal returns associated with corporate donation announcements. Linear regressions were applied to distinguish if different donation amounts or if the recipient area played a significant role regarding how realised donation announcements is interpreted by the market. Result: No market significance regarding abnormal returns was found connected to donation announcements during any of the three studied event windows. The linear regressions performed revealed that the donation amounts significantly affect market reactions during a two day-period before an announcement as well as a seven day-period after the announcement day. Indicating information leakage and lagging reactions to the announcement. Recipient area was identified to not affect abnormal returns with the regressions for any of the investigated event windows. However, through an analysis of means, some specific cases where the donation amount and the recipient area resulted in a significant difference between groups were distinguished. Conclusion: No significant punishment to donating companies was found; hence no lost firm value was identified, indicating that the act of donating is not viewed as inappropriate by the market. Therefore, managers do not need to fear the market’s reactions when planning a corporate donation. Internal value can emerge from the act of donating, in the form of goodwill, brand image, reputation, company image, positioning or awareness. Further, it was determined that neither the donation amount nor the recipient area have a significant relation to the effect for any of the whole event windows tested.

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