Financing Capacity Investment Under Demand Uncertainty: An Optimal Contracting Approach


Manufacturing & Service Operations Management


Departments: Finance, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Capacity, Optimal Contracts, Financial Constraints, Newsvendor Model

We study the capacity choice problem of a firm whose access to capital is hampered by financial frictions in the form of moral hazard. The firm must therefore optimize not only its capacity investment under demand uncertainty, but also its sourcing of funds. Ours is the first study of this problem to follow an optimal contracting approach, where feasible source of funds are derived endogenously from fundamentals and include standard financial claims (debt, equity, convertible debt, call and put warrants, etc.) and combinations thereof. We characterize the optimal capacity level. First, we find conditions under which a feasible financial contract exists that achieves first-best. When no such contract exists, we find that under optimal financing, the choice of capacity sometimes exceeds strictly the efficient level. This runs counter to the literature on financing capacity investment in funds and the intuition that by raising the cost of external capital and hence the unit capacity cost, financial market frictions lower the optimal capacity level. We trace the value of increasing capacity beyond the efficient level to a bonus effect and a demand differentiation effect. In contrast to most of the literature on financing capacity, our results are robust to a change of financial contract