Ownership concentration and Covid-19 disclosure: the mediating role of corporate leverage

Published date18 March 2022
Date18 March 2022
Subject MatterAccounting & finance,Accounting/accountancy,Accounting methods/systems
AuthorKhaldoon Albitar,Mahmoud Elmarzouky,Khaled Hussainey
Ownership concentration and
Covid-19 disclosure: the mediating
role of corporate leverage
Khaldoon Albitar
Faculty of Business and Law, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Mahmoud Elmarzouky
Kingston Business School, Kingston University, London, UK, and
Khaled Hussainey
Faculty of Business and Law, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Purpose This paper aims to examinethe impact of ownership concentration on Covid-19 disclosurein the
narrative sectionsof corporate annual reports. It also exploresthe mediating role of corporate leverage on the
ownershipconcentrationCovid-19 disclosurerelationship.
Design/methodology/approach This paper uses automated textual analysis to measure Covid-19
disclosure in annual reports. It also applies different regression models to test the research hypotheses and to address
the endogeneity problem. It uses univariate and multivariate analyses through correlations and ordinary least squares.
Findings The analysis shows thatownership concentration has a negative impact on Covid-19 disclosure.
It also shows that corporate leveragenegatively affects Covid-19 disclosure, and it has a partial mediating
effect on the ownershipconcentrationCovid-19 disclosurerelationship.
Practical implications The results offer important practical implications for the government,
management, shareholdersand policymakers. For example, corporate managers are encouragedto consider
small shareholdersinterests and provide a sufcient level of Covid-19 disclosure to avoid violating their
rights. Also, the government may consider forminga mechanism for balancing the ownership structure to
protectsmall investors and weaken large shareholderstunnellingbehaviours.
Originality/value This paperoffers two important contributionsto governance and disclosure literature.
First, it provides new empiricalevidence on the relationship between ownership concentration and Covid-19
disclosure. Second, it provides new evidence on the mediating role of the leverage ratio on the ownership
concentrationCovid-19disclosure relationship.
Keywords Ownership concentration, Covid-19 disclosure, Corporate leverage, Textual analysis, UK
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Covid-19 pandemic is considered the toughest challenge since the great depression, and it
has had substantial economicand nancial impacts all over the world (Goodell, 2020;Heand
Harris, 2020;Albitaret al., 2020a;Elmarzouky et al., 2021a,2021b;Albitar et al., 2021). Under
this pandemic, many initiativeshave been seen by the UK governments, professional bodies
and Financial Reporting Council (FRC) to guide rms to deal with the pandemic and report
more Covid-19-related information (Albitar et al., 2020a). In March 2020, FRC also issued a
specic notice related to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on nancial reporting and
auditing (FRC, 2020). However, such practices are not strictly enforced, and there is no
mandatory requirement for entities to disclose information on such activities or how they
and Covid-19
Received4 October 2021
Revised7 February 2022
Accepted25 February 2022
InternationalJournal of
Accounting& Information
Vol.30 No. 3, 2022
pp. 339-351
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/IJAIM-10-2021-0202
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