Ownership Concentration, Corporate Governance and Firm Performance: Evidence from Pakistan

Publication Year : 2008

The nature of relation between the ownership structure and corporate governance structure has been the core issue in the corporate governance literature. From a firms’ perspective, ownership structure determines the firms’ profitability, enjoyed by different stake-holders. In particular, ownership structure is an incentive device for reducing the agency costs associated with the separation of ownership and management, which can be used to protect property rights of the firm [Barbosa and Louri (2002)]. With the development of corporate governance, many corporations owned by disperse shareholders and are controlled by hire manager. As a results incorporated firms whose owners are dispersed and each of them owns a small fraction of total outstanding shares, tend to under-perform as indicated by Berle and Means (1932). Latter this theoretical relationship between a firm’s ownership structure and its performance is empirically examined by Jensen and Meckling (1976) and Shlefier and Vishny (1986). In most of developing markets including Pakistan, the closely held firms (family or state-controlled firms or firms held by corporations and by financial institutions) dominate the economic landscape. The main agency problem is not the managershareholder conflict but rather the risk of expropriation by the dominant or controlling shareholder at the expense of minority shareholders. The agency problem in these markets is that control is often obtained through complex pyramid structures,1 interlock directorship,2 cross shareholdings,3 voting pacts and/or dual class voting shares that allow the ultimate owner to maintain (voting) control while owning a small fraction of ownership (cash flow rights).