A debenture is a document that either creates a debt or acknowledges it. In corporate finance, the term is used for a medium- to long-term debt instrument used by large companies to borrow money. In some countries the term is used interchangeably with bond, loan stock or note. A debenture is thus like a certificate of loan or a loan bond evidencing the fact that the company is liable to pay a specified amount with interest and although the money raised by the debentures becomes a part of the company's capital structure, it does not become share capital.
Debentures are generally freely transferable by the debenture holder. Debenture holders have no rights to vote in the company's general meetings of shareholders, but they may have separate meetings or votes e.g. on changes to the rights attached to the debentures. The interest paid to them is a charge against profit in the company's financial statements.
- A movable property.
- Issued by the company in the form of a certificate of indebtedness.
- It generally specifies the date of redemption, repayment of principal and interest on specified dates.
- May or may not create a charge on the assets of the company.
Security in different jurisdictions
In the United States, debenture refers specifically to an unsecured corporate bond, i.e. a bond that does not have a certain line of income or piece of property or equipment to guarantee repayment of principal upon the bond's maturity. Where security is provided for loan stocks or bonds in the US, they are termed 'mortgage bonds'.
In Canada, a debenture refers to a secured loan instrument where security is generally over the debtor's credit, but security is not pledged to specific assets. Like other secured debts, the debenture gives the debtor priority status over unsecured creditors in a bankruptcy; however debt instruments where security is pledged to specific assets (such as a bond) receive a higher priority status in a bankruptcy than do debentures.
In Asia[where?], if repayment is secured by a charge over land, the loan document is called a mortgage; where repayment is secured by a charge against other assets of the company, the document is called a debenture; and where no security is involved, the document is called a note or 'unsecured deposit note'.
There are two types of debentures:
- Convertible debentures, which are convertible bonds or bonds that can be converted into equity shares of the issuing company after a predetermined period of time. "Convertibility" is a feature that corporations may add to the bonds they issue to make them more attractive to buyers. In other words, it is a special feature that a corporate bond may carry. As a result of the advantage a buyer gets from the ability to convert, convertible bonds typically have lower interest rates than non-convertible corporate bonds.
- Non-convertible debentures, which are simply regular debentures, cannot be converted into equity shares of the liable company. They are debentures without the convertibility feature attached to them. As a result, they usually carry higher interest rates than their convertible counterparts.
- ^ Legal Service India
- ^ Legal Service India
- ^ Glossary: D on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) website, United States
- ^ What is a debenture?, Company Law Club, referring to United Kingdom usage
- ^ Chandra Gopalan (2007); Company Law in Singapore 3rd Edition; McGraw-Hill Education (Asia)
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Look at other dictionaries:
debenture — de·ben·ture /di ben chər/ n [Anglo French debentour and Medieval Latin debentura, perhaps from Latin debentur they are owed]: an unsecured bond that is backed by the issuer s general credit rather than a specific lien – called also debenture… … Law dictionary
Debenture — De*ben ture (?; 135), n. [L. debentur they are due, fr. debere to owe; cf. F. debentur. So called because these receipts began with the words Debentur mihi.] 1. A writing acknowledging a debt; a writing or certificate signed by a public officer,… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Debenture — Débenture Une débenture est un instrument financier qui a les mêmes caractéristiques qu une obligation, toutefois la débenture n offre aucun bien en garantie. Par conséquent, elle offre moins de couverture pour l acheteur du titre en cas de… … Wikipédia en Français
debênture — s. f. [Brasil] [Economia] Obrigação ao portador. = DEBENTURA ‣ Etimologia: inglês debenture … Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa
debenture — Security instrument evidencing a debt due from one party to another, payable on demand or otherwise, which can be a fixed and/or floating charge on assets and which can grant the lender broad powers to recover the amount due upon default,… … Glossary of Bankruptcy
debenture — (n.) written acknowledgment of a debt, early 15c., from L. debentur there are due (said to have been the first word in formal certificates of indebtedness), passive present third person plural of debere to owe (see DEBT (Cf. debt)) … Etymology dictionary
debenture — [n] certificate of debt bond, I.O.U., promise to pay, voucher; concepts 318,684 … New thesaurus
debenture — ► NOUN Brit. ▪ a bond of a company acknowledging a debt and yielding a fixed rate of interest. ORIGIN Latin debentur are owing (used as the first word of a certificate recording a debt), from debere owe … English terms dictionary
debenture — [di ben′chər] n. [ME debentur < ML < L, 3d pers. pl., pres. pass. indic., of debere: see DEBT: so called from receipts beginning with the Latin words debentur mihi, there are owing to me] 1. a voucher or certificate acknowledging that a… … English World dictionary
debenture — a fixed interest investment in a company, which has priority for interest payments, generally redeemable after the lapse of a specified time Any debt obligation backed strictly by the borrower s integrity, e.g. an un secured bond. A debenture is… … Financial and business terms
debenture — /dabentyar/ Long term unsecured debt instrument, issued pursuant to an indenture. A promissory note or bond backed by the general credit and earning history of a corporation and usually not secured by a mortgage or lien on any specific property;… … Black's law dictionary