Ownership Structure and Firm Performance: Evidence from the Icelandic Financial Crisis

Álfrún Tryggvadóttir

Student thesis: Master thesis


In this thesis I use a sample of 116 listed and non-listed Icelandic firms to analyze whether ownership structure affects firm value both before and during the Icelandic financial crisis. Although there is some variation in the ownership pattern of Icelandic firms, the majority has a concentrated ownership structure. Accordingly, I am most interested in analyzing whether this ownership concentration improved performance during the crisis due to better alignment of interest between controlling and outside shareholders or if it diminished performance because of minority shareholder expropriation. Related to this main analysis, I also look at what other factors diminish or enhance expropriating behavior, such as cross-ownership and identities of shareholders. My findings show that ownership concentration is negatively related to performance after the crisis hit Iceland in 2008, but positively related to performance before the onset of the crisis. This is evident when I use return on equity (ROE) as a measure of performance.

EducationsMSc in Applied Economics and Finance, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages122