OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE AND VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE OF LISTED INDUSTRIAL GOODS COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

Abstract

This study assessed the impact of ownership structure on voluntary disclosure of information in the Nigerian listed industrial goods companies for the period of ten (10) years 2004 to 2013. Thirteen companies out of twenty three companies were selected based on pre-determined criteria. The data for the study were collected from annual reports and accounts of the sampled companies and were analysed using descriptive statistics, correlation coefficient and multiple regressions (OLS and GLS). Thus, a panel data regression technique was employed since the data has both time series and cross sectional attributes. The study found that both institutional and managerial share ownership was negatively and significantly associated with voluntary disclosure of information in the Nigerian listed industrial goods companies. Thus, the study recommends that shareholders (other than institutional shareholder) in the Nigerian industrial goods companies should effectively monitor and supervise the action of institutional share holders, since such share holding of institutions has negative impact on the extent of voluntary disclosure of information. And to reduce the principal-agent problem between managers and shareholders, Nigerian listed industrial goods companies should discourage managers from holding equity in their corporation, which leads managers to engage in non-maximizing behaviour through hiding vital information to the users. Also, outside shareholders should increase their efforts in monitoring the managers’ behaviour against possible self-interest seeking actions. The findings of this study have fundamental policy implications regarding the influence of ownership structure in influencing the extent of voluntary disclosure in the Nigerian listed industrial goods companies. Institutional share ownership, Managerial share ownership, Voluntary disclosure

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Annual reports are the primary medium various stakeholders rely on for making decisions. Thus management, responsible for preparing the annual reports, is accountable to all the stakeholders. As a result, they should disclose all relevant information in the annual reports for stakeholders to make efficient economic decisions. In addition, increased  disclosures of information, apart from the ones required by the standards and the regulators are important. These additional disclosures protect the interest of minority shareholders and ensure transparency of company’s information to its interested parties. Meek, Roberts and Gray (1995), define voluntary corporate disclosure as disclosures in excess of requirements in annual reports and other media as deemed relevant by the company management for an effective decision-making by the users of the financial reports. However, agency theory assumes a separation of ownership from control would lead to agency problems, as the agents will not always maximize the shareholder value. And hence, the incentive for the management to provide additional disclosures decreases. Moreover, the controlling shareholders in a company mostly maximize their self-interest rather than that of the minority shareholders. Thus, there is increased emphasis on the need to ensure the protection of the interests of minority shareholders. Minority shareholders are entitled to receive all relevant information to make an informed judgment on the performance of the company. Disclosure of less voluntary information to the minority shareholders is one way controlling shareholders expropriate minority shareholders. Most of the disclosure studies examining the association between ownership structure and voluntary disclosure were conducted elsewhere around the world (such as Eng & Mak 2003, Ghazali & Weetman 2006, El-Gazzar 1998, and Barako, Hancock & Izan 2006). However, the impact of ownership structure on corporate voluntary disclosure practices, remains unexplored in emerging stock markets especially Nigeria. The main objective of this study is to examine the impact of ownership structure on voluntary disclosure in the Nigerian listed industrial goods companies for the period of ten years 2004 to 2013. The study findings will be of important to information users including investors, researchers, creditors, financial analysts, and government because they provide them with information that is useful when making investment and regulatory decisions. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: section 2 presents a literature review on the ownership structure and voluntary disclosure. Section 3 is the Research methodology. Section 4 presents research results and discussion, and finally conclusions and recommendation are presented in section 5.