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Experience comparison on the choosing of coal enterprise vertical integration architecture and path based on panel data mining.

1. Introduction

China is a country typically featured in "rich coal, less gas, poor petroleum". And for a long time in the future, coal would still be the main element of Chinese energy structure. With the ever rising of call for national energy production and consumption structure adjustment due to the forcing of low-carbon type economy demand, the coal industry would become one of the key reform elements. In the future, the coal enterprises shall not only stay on the level of "mining coal--selling coal", but to extend towards upstream and downstream of the industry by scientific and high efficient mining, thus to realize transforming of high-pollution low-end "Coal" to be clean energy, and greatly develop "coal-fired power, mine, power plant, and transportation, and coal chemical industry" vertical integration industry chain. The vertical integration of coal enterprise industrial chain can help to realize industry transformation and upgrade, which meets the energy reform theme and is the good weapon realizing profit gaining instead of suffering losses. Therefore the vertical integration effect of the coal enterprises shall be deeply studied to help the coal enterprises to better implement the vertical integration. According to different integration directions, the vertical integration can be divided into forward integration and backward integration: the forward integration refers to the way of integrating along output direction or product sales direction; and the backward integration refers to the way of integrating along production investment or raw material supply direction. What's the effect of choosing different vertical integration paths on corporation M&A transaction cost and resource configuration is the main purpose of this paper.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Transaction Cost Theory and Vertical Integration

For the transaction cost theory (Williamson, 1985), as a comparatively mature theoretical view explaining the corporate boundary of corporation vertical integration, it needs to consider the key characteristic of economic transaction--transaction specific investment level. The normal market transacting relation shall be adopted to manage the transactions with low specific investment level; strategic alliance shall be taken to manage the transactions with intermediate specific investment level; and the transactions with high specific investment level shall be included into the corporate boundary to accept graded management, thus to form the vertical integration (Barney, 2007; Rocha & Freixo, 2015).

According to the transaction cost theory, the logic deciding corporate boundary is: when the transaction specific investment level of a certain transaction is high, the high cost of hierarchy governance would to large extent be offset by its ability of reducing threat of opportunism. Therefore, compared with market governance and intermediate governance, the hierarchy governance is more popular. When the transaction specific investment level of a certain transaction is low, compared with hierarchy governance, the intermediate governance is more proper. That's because the intermediate level opportunism threat would not offset the extra cost of hierarchy governance. Compared with market governance, the intermediate governance is also proper: because there's always certain opportunism threat that cannot be eliminated by market governance. If the transaction specific investment level of a certain transaction is low, the threats of the opportunism are also low. And at this moment, the market governance with the lowest cost would be the most popular way.

2.2. Resource-based Theory and Vertical Integration

Wernerfelt (1984), as one of the founders of the resource-based theory, was the earliest one realizing the key function of M&A expansion act based on resource and resource combination on the corporation competitiveness in product market competition. The idea of competitive advantage hypothesis developed based on this thought considers that, the product market position combination taken by the enterprise is the comprehensive reflection of its controlled resources, namely, the competition of enterprises product status competition can also be deemed as competition of the enterprise controlled resources.

Transaction cost theory considers that, the opportunistic problem produced by transaction specific investment must be solved through the selection of governance. However, being different from transaction cost theory (Williamson, 1975), Rumelt (1984) studied the enterprise rent generating and grabbing characteristic, revealed that the existence of enterprise is the effective way to minimize threats of opportunism in the transaction, and is a kind of more effective method than other forms of governance, including the market, in terms of creating and grabbing the economic rent. Connerand Prahalad (1996), Grant(1996), Liebeskind(1996), Kogut and Zander(1996), Spender(1996)combined several themes of rent generating, transaction cost and governance, and finally developed a kind of resource-based corporate vertical integration theory, which became the theoretical bridge between enterprise performance resources theory and transaction cost governance theory. In particular, in the two theories, the transaction specific investment is taken as the important independent variables to explain dependent variables. In resource-based theory learner's point of view, the transaction specific feature or corporation specific investment are both deemed as the resource that may generate economic rent (Barney, 2001).

Compared to the transaction cost factors, the empirical study also verifies that the resources factor is more important for vertical integration decision making. Argyres (1996) found through the case analysis that when the suppliers have remarkable ability, enterprises can choose outsourcing. And when the resources of two companies haven't overlap, or when these resources fully overlap, enterprise ability weight would be bigger in vertical integration decision making. Leiblein and Miller (2003) "internal production or market buy" empirical study found that the ability and strategy of corporation level are independent, and significantly affect the enterprise vertical boundary selection. The research findings of other domestic learners show that, about the vertical integration of empirical studies, compared with the transaction cost factors, resource factor play an important and even independent role in vertical integration.

2.3. Research Review

On one hand, when making economic decision by transaction cost theory, the corporation resource and capacity are often ignored. This theory considers that, the productivity of the enterprise in transaction is fixed. And it only focuses on the fortune (obtained from a certain transaction) distribution in the enterprise. Among lots of studies on transaction expenses, no problem about relative resource and capability of enterprise and its trading partners has been proposed at all. In the traditional transaction cost analysis of enterprise boundary, enterprise resource and capacity actually have no obvious function at all. Why the explaining function of resource and capacity is so tiny when explaining enterprise vertical integration by transaction cost? Resource-based theory clearly focuses on enterprise's production resource and capability, and explores the possibility of governance selection by analyzing how all the enterprise controlled tangible and intangible resources in a certain transaction create value. Then, what kind of theory decides the vertical integration of Chinese coal enterprise?

On the other hand, the vertical integration path selection is divided into forward and backward types. Current existing theories cannot clearly stipulate how these two theoretical system affect the choice of Coal enterprise in vertical integration path. Therefore, in this paper, the comparison and analysis on influence effect of coal enterprise vertical integration path are performed from the two theoretical systems in order to provide certain supplementation to relative study.

3. Definitions to Variables

3.1. Explained Variables

1. Transaction Cost

Transaction cost refers to the costs happened in all market transaction steps of supply-demand info search, finding object, negotiating, and delivery, including contact negotiating cost, contract concluding cost, and breach of contract cost. These costs are mainly reflected in selling expenses of business cost in financial statements. In this paper, the transaction cost is represented by selling expense changes before and after M&A of the corporate (selling cost happened in the year of M&A - selling cost of previous year) / business income by the end of previous year.

(2) Corporate Recourse

In this paper, the accessible corporate resources are weighed from aspects of material resource, financial resource, and intangible resource after vertical integration of sample corporations, among which, material resource is represented by fixed assets / total assets, financial resource is represented by long-term borrowed money / total assets, and intangible assets is represented by intangible assets / total assets.

3.2. Calculation of vertical integration path explaining variables

The current references show three types of vertical integration calculating methods: value-added method, major-minor sorting method, input-and-output method. Considering the accessibility of research purpose and data, the input and output method is general and can have better performance. In this paper, Zhang Weihua (2011) method is taken as reference and method of combining input-and-output table and financial data (partial business income) is adopted to respectively establish forward integration and backward integration coefficients. The bigger values of these coefficients, the higher level of vertical integration. On the contrary, the smaller values of these coefficients, the lower level of vertical integration. For variable definitions, please see Table 1.

Forward and backward integration coefficient calculation method is as follow:

It shall firstly confirm the industries that the corporation spans, calculate the proportion of various business incomes in total income, and then calculate the volume of enterprise industry unit output flowing into other industries (or other industries' investment required by each unit) and sum up the coefficient. And finally, use the ratio of enterprise partial income occupying total income as the weight to multiply total coefficient to represent the integration degree. The specific calculating steps are as follows:

1. Perform industry matching: match the main business part name with the industries in basic matrix released by the nation.

2. The investment of unit output of industry "i" flows into other industry (other industries required by unit output) "j" is calculated according to the basic matrix (i[not equal to]j) among which, "j" is the industry of the corporation. This coefficient is defined as [[theta].sub.ji]. Sum up the coefficient:

[[theta].sub.i] = [[SIGMA].sup.n.sub.j=1,j[not equal to]i] [[theta].sub.ji] (1)

This coefficient represents the investment of unit output of industry "i" flows into other industry (other industries required by unit output) "j".

3. The income is taken as the weight to weigh. For [[theta].sub.i], it shall be weighed according to the income of specific part of the corporation, thus to constitute the forward (backward) integration weighing index:

[V.sub.forward(backward)] [[SIGMA].sup.n.sub.i=1] [[omega].sub.i][[theta].sub.i] (2)

[[omega].sub.i] is the proportion of "i" part income in total income of the specific industry. This index is used for measuring the forward (backward) integration degree of all parts of the corporation. The interval of this index is [0, 1). And the bigger value of this index, the higher level of forward (backward) integration.

The forward and backward integration index during 2010 to 2014 of the sample corporations are obtained based on calculation according to the above method. For specific, please see Table 2.

4. Panel Data Mining Model

In this paper, the coal enterprise vertical integration effect is respectively studied from transaction cost and basic resource theory. Therefore, for the empirical analysis, the transaction cost, corporation resources (material resource, financial resource, and intangible resource) are variables to be explained. And the panel data model is formed as follow:

TCit = [alpha]i + [beta]iBACKWARDit + [gamma]iFORWARDit + uit (3)

MRit / FRit / IRit = [alpha]i + PiBACKWARDit + [gamma]iFORWARDa + uit (4)

i=1, 2, ... 20, t = 1, 2, ... 5

TCit, MRit, FRit, IRit respective represent transaction cost, material resource, financial resource, and intangible resource of Corporation i in t period; BACKWARDit(BACit) is the backwards integration index of Corporation i in t period; FORWARDit(FORit) is the forward integration index of Corporation i in t period. [alpha]i is the constant term, un is the error term. Model 1 is the influence effect model of vertical integration architecture path selection under view of transaction cost; and Model 2 is the influence effect model of vertical integration architecture path selection under fundamental resource view.

In this paper, the coal enterprise vertical integration that is defined by the real evidence refers to the process that the coal enterprise, as the main body performing merger and acquisition to other enterprises have the input-output relationship with it on M&A chain. And in this paper, The coal enterprise listed on Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange from 2010 to 2014 are taken as the research samples, and are filtered according to the following criteria: (1) eliminate the samples having only coal income in industry-based main business income disclosed on the company's financial statements; (2) eliminate samples whose coal income ratio of occupying total income is smaller than other industry incomes; (3) eliminate the samples whose data is not complete; (4) eliminate samples having abnormal financial position or the auditor provides rejection or negative opinions. Through the above filtering process, actually 100 samples of observation values of 20 sample companies from 2010 to 2014 is obtained, The annual report data in the empirical analysis comes from Sina finance and economics website and Shenzhen Stock Exchange website, other financial data comes from the annual report, CCER and CSMAR database.

5. Empirical Analysis

5.1. Descriptive Statistics

Table 2 is the descriptive statistics of the main variables. It can be seen from this table that, between 2010 and 2014, the overall average backward integration value is significantly lower than the forward integration. That's because, as the fundamental energy, the coal corporation mining and selling are generally at the upstream industry position. Therefore its vertical integration architecture path is normally forward.

But the fluctuation of the forward integration level of the coal corporations is far higher than the backward integration. On the whole, the coal industry overall levels of vertical integration is low. In terms of the forward integration, for every yuan's output, it needs 14.51 fen's input. For the company with highest level, for each yuan's output, it needs 43.89 fen's internal input, and minimum 0.21 fen's input. But for backward integration sample companies, for each yuan's output, minimum input is 6.i7fen, maximum 14.48fen. Table 3 reports the regression results of model (1) and (2). It can be seen from the table that, raw coal production of coal enterprises in the upstream industry chain, the vertical integration is usually forward integration. In this paper, the relation between coal enterprises forward integration and transaction cost and corporation resources is taken as the core object of research.

5.2. Panel Data Regression Analysis

It can be seen from table 4 that, when taking transaction costs as the explained variable, forward integration level of coal enterprises is of negatively correlation with it, and is significant at 1% level. This indicates that the higher of coal enterprise forward integration level, the more transaction cost can be saved. If coal enterprise integrates resources, perform merger and acquisitions to downstream enterprises of the industry chain, and makes external transaction as internal transaction, it would not need to invest a lot of manpower, financial and material resources to find transaction objects or negotiation, which could help to greatly save the transaction cost.

It can be seen from the material resource panel regression that, the coal enterprise forward integration is of negative correlation with the material resource. But such correlation is not significant. The backward integration is of positive correlation with the material resource at 5% significant level. The significance level of the equation is 1%, the explaining strength of variables to the equation is 84.8%. This sufficiently shows that, with the enhancement of coal enterprise backward equation, the acquirer may obtain more material resource. This has close relation with coal industry features. On one hand, the nature hosting regional features of the coal resource decides that the construction mine is always accompanied with assisting construction of transport, water, power, and machinery and equipment for it needs huge volume of material and financial capital; on the other hand, with the ever improving of Chinese supervision on environment protection, safe production, mine scale, the investment of coal enterprises in relative facilities also increases year by year. Therefore, the coal enterprise has the motivation of acquiring upstream industry infrastructural equipment and capital investment via backward integration.

Viewing from financial resource panel regression that, the forward integration and backward integration level of the coal enterprise is of negative correlation with financial resource. But the correlation is not significant. This shows that the motivation of Chinese coal enterprise selecting vertical integration is not to obtain financial resource.

Viewing from the intangible resource panel regression result that, the forward integration level of coal enterprise is of positive correlation with intangible resource at 5% significance level, and the backward integration level is of negative correlation with intangible resource at 1% significance level. After adjustment, R2 value is 93.24%, and the equation is significant at 1% significance level. The intangible resource richness and quality have great impact on whether the corporation can win in intensive market competition. They have become the main representatives of core competitiveness of the corporation. The nature of state-owned resource decides that, on one hand, the coal enterprise must have the rights of mining and prospecting; and on the other hand, good enterprise image and powerful competitive strengthen are the important guarantee for the enterprise obtaining national credit and policy support. Therefore, the coal enterprises would selectively implement the vertical integration strategy to obtain more intangible resources and improve market competitiveness.

5.3. Robust test

In order to check the robustness of the research conclusions, the following tests are performed for this paper: firstly, the proportion of long-term liability and total liability is taken to replace the proportion of long-term borrowing money occupying total assets to weigh the financial resource of the corporation; secondly, the inventory is included into material resource index weighing scope, and the proportion of fixed assets plus inventory occupying total assets is taken as the replacement variable of material resource; thirdly, the proportion of R&D investment and main business income is taken to replace the value of intangible assets divided by total assets as the intangible resource replacement variable; fourth, when the transaction cost happens, one part is counted into selling cost, while the other part is counted into management cost. Therefore, the proportion of sum of selling cost and management cost, and the business income is taken as the transaction cost replacement variable. After replacing by the above variables, the empirical results show that the conclusion of this paper basically stays unchanged. Therefore, the above empirical result has robustness.

6. Conclusions

In this paper, the experience data of the Chinese listed coal enterprises is taken as the samples. And the empirical study is performed to check the influence of coal enterprise's vertical integration architecture path selection on transaction cost, material resource, intangible resource, financial resource configuration. The research results show that: transaction cost conservation and obtaining of intangible resource are the main factors affecting coal enterprise's selecting of forward integration merger and acquisition. And the backward integration is mainly for obtaining material resource.

The inspirations brought by this paper:

1. Giver overall consideration to both the upstream and downstream of the coal resource industrial chains, reduce government interference

Facing to the miserable coal industry transition, seizing the high-end products upgrade and technological innovation is the only right way of coal enterprise to realize vertical integration. Speaking of the relationship between the upstream and downstream industry chain of the vertical integration, the coal enterprises in at the upper position. Since the coal is nonrenewable resources, excess coal capacity is not permanent. For government, it has been actively promoting electricity and coal integration, and has repeated for many times that the joint operating of coal and power would be taken as long-term policy to adhere to. And it has been giving preferential treatment in aspect of project examination and approval. But in China, there still exists "the market coal" and "planned electricity", which has distorted power and coal integration. If the government and leadership of coal enterprise still blindly promotes the integration of coal and power, it will further enlarge the coal and power marketization difficulty and cost of economic sustainable development. And in the future, the coal resource integration marketization flow shall be studied to force the enterprises to change the development mode and find the path of coal industry sustainable development.

2. Adhere to the market-oriented operation, guide and motivate enterprise to voluntarily and independently participate in mergers and reorganization

The coal enterprise integration and restructuring that was promoted during the "Twelfth five-year plan" period, changes the coal enterprise overall "small, scattered and disorderly" status, improves the condition of "frequent accidents, difficult supervision". But the status of "state fund investment forcing out private fund" becomes more serious in state-owned coal enterprises, which results in rigid enterprise mechanism and low investment rate. During the period of "13th five-year plan", with the national economy development, energy structure adjustment, and market condition changes, the coal enterprise may perform scientific forecast and sufficient research according to its own conditions. Under the circumstance of energy structure adjustment, environmental protection strengthening, impact of imported coal, and enhancement of production and construction compliance standard, the vertical integration would face to new tendency and new challenge. Being in line with the principles of "optimal capital, technology drive, and efficiency priority", the conducting industrial cluster with operating features and market competitiveness would be finally determined. Since China's enterprise merger and reorganization lags behind the adjustment of industrial structure and the requirement of the transformation of the pattern of economic development, during the period of "13th five-year plan", government departments should adhere to the market-oriented operation, fully respect the enterprise will, guide and motivate enterprise to voluntarily and independently participate in mergers and reorganization.

Recebido/Submission: 13/05/2016

Aceitacao/Acceptance: 17/08/2016


This is the phase achievement of "Study on Jiangsu Development Zone Innovation-driven Transformation, Upgrade, and Environment Regulations" of Jiangsu Provincial Social Science Fund (15EYB005).


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Huang Yuanyuan, Tang Wenxia *


School of Economics and Management, JiangSu JianZhu Institute, 221116, Xuzhou, China
Table 1--The Definitions of Variables

Classification        Name        Symbol            Definition

Explained         Transaction    TC         Selling cost of the year
Variables         Cost                      of M&A--previous year
                                            sales cost) / business
                  Corporation    CR         income by the end of
                  Resource:                 previous year

                  Material       MR         Fixed assets/total assets

                  Financial      FR         Long-term borrowed
                  Resource                  money/total assets

                  Intangible     IR         Intangible assets/total
                  Resource                  assets

Explaining        Vertical
Variables         Integration:

                  Forward        FORWARD    See Formula 2

                  Backward       BACKWARD   See Formula 2

Table 2--The Vertical Integration index table for coal
companies from 2010 to 2014

                2014            2013            2012

S/N    Stock    FOR%    BAC%    FOR %   BAC %   FOR%    BAC%

1      601088   24.92   11.19   24.79   11.26   25.56   11.29
2      000983   43.89   8.88    42.89   7.62    42.91   7.65
3      600123   4.06    1.52    4.72    1.56    4.36    1.54
4      601699   12.01   6.29    11.97   6.30    12.60   7.06
5      600121   10.35   12.91   12.28   12.93   14.42   13.63
6      600546   1.37    5.80    1.37    5.91    1.37    5.97
7      600652   0.21    0.27    0.21    0.27    0.21    0.27
8      600188   4.28    12.92   4.28    12.92   4.30    12.96
9      600348   34.03   6.27    34.01   6.27    34.01   6.27
10     600395   33.60   6.33    33.37   6.36    33.24   6.38
11     600408   1.49    1.59    1.44    1.44    1.48    1.58
12     600508   0.69    1.82    0.70    1.78    0.70    1.78
13     600971   33.89   6.29    33.85   6.30    33.71   6.31
14     600997   2.36    1.41    2.67    1.43    3.05    1.46
15     601001   13.11   7.03    13.13   7.03    13.16   7.03
16     601898   11.52   6.52    11.34   6.50    11.15   6.36
17     000780   1.38    4.98    1.37    5.52    1.38    5.42
18     000933   5.58    4.00    5.88    6.50    5.26    6.19
19     000937   8.57    7.05    8.48    6.98    8.63    7.09
20     000968   40.14   7.99    39.98   7.98    40.33   8.00

       2011            2010

S/N    FOR%    BAC%    FOR%    BAC%

1      25.49   11.28   22.36   9.76
2      43.56   7.58    42.26   7.74
3      5.09    1.58    4.75    1.56
4      12.47   7.07    12.62   7.05
5      18.69   14.48   19.97   14.23
6      1.37    5.97    1.37    5.97
7      0.21    0.28    0.21    0.28
8      3.85    13.06   3.74    13.03
9      31.22   6.64    33.33   6.36
10     33.17   6.38    32.67   6.45
11     2.45    1.96    1.93    1.76
12     0.68    1.85    0.76    1.62
13     32.86   6.43    32.95   6.41
14     3.00    1.45    3.26    1.47
15     13.17   7.03    13.17   7.03
16     10.67   6.61    10.93   6.56
17     1.37    5.54    1.38    5.38
18     5.08    6.10    3.80    5.45
19     8.58    7.04    8.79    7.19
20     40.51   7.99    39.67   7.99

Table 3--The statistical characteristic of vertical integration
for coal companies

Variable       Variable    Samples    Mean    Standard
Name             Code                Value    Deviation

Backward       BACK WARD     100     6.17%     0.0359

Forward        FOR WARD      100     14.51%    0.1429

Transaction       TC         100     0.40%      2.08%

Material          MR         100     36.42%    13.38%

Financial         FR         100     9.50%      0.50%

Intangible        IR         100     10.33%     8.55%

Variable       Median   Minimum   Maximum

Backward       6.36%     0.27%    14.48%

Forward        9.57%     0.21%    43.89%

Transaction    0.21%    -13.88%    8.74%

Material       36.11%    7.45%    75.14%

Financial      8.74%     0.20%    33.59%

Intangible     8.27%     0.29%    31.06%

Table 4--The estimation results of dynamic panel data model

Explained       TC           MR            FR            IR

C             0.0017      0.2924 ***     0.1333 **    0.1127 ***
             (0.7841)    (0.0019)       (0.0170)     (0.0000)

BACKWARD      0.2199 *     3.7040 **    -0.5893       -1.4355 ***
             (0.0878)     (0.0430)      (0.4684)      (0.0086)

FORWARD      -0.0784 *     -1.0818       -0.0132      0.5464 **
             (0.0607)     (0.1398)      (0.9580)      (0.0359)

R-squared     0.3186       0.8803        0.8777        0.9468

Adjusted      0.1352       0.8480        0.8448        0.9324

F-           1.7370 **   27.3055 ***   26.6649 ***   66.0379 ***

Prob(F-       0.0422       0.0000        0.0000        0.0000

Hausman       0.8367       0.0775        0.5113        0.3397

Observed        100          100           100           100

Note: the content inside brackets is p-valve, ***, **,
and * respectively represents 1%, 5%, and 10% significance level.
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Author:Yuanyuan, Huang; Wenxia, Tang
Publication:RISTI (Revista Iberica de Sistemas e Tecnologias de Informacao)
Date:Oct 1, 2016
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