When a firm is unable to roll over its debt, it may have to seek more expensive sources of financing or even liquidate its assets. This paper provides a normative analysis of minimizing such rollover risk, through the optimal dynamic choice of the maturity structure of debt. The objective of a firm with long-term assets is to maximize the effective maturity of its liabilities across several refinancing cycles, rather than to maximize the maturity of the current bonds outstanding. An advantage of short-term financing is that a firm, while in good financial health, can readjust its maturity structure more quickly in response to changes in its asset value.
Duration hedging might give the wrong prescription for minimizing rollover risk.