Corporate bond

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A bond from the Dutch East India Company (VOC), dating from 7 November 1623. The VOC was the first company in history to widely issue bonds and shares of stock to the general public. Vereinigte Ostindische Compagnie bond - Middelburg - Amsterdam - 1622.jpg
A bond from the Dutch East India Company (VOC), dating from 7 November 1623. The VOC was the first company in history to widely issue bonds and shares of stock to the general public.

A corporate bond is a bond issued by a corporation in order to raise financing for a variety of reasons such as to ongoing operations, M&A, or to expand business. [1] The term is usually applied to longer-term debt instruments, with maturity of at least one year. Corporate debt instruments with maturity shorter than one year are referred to as commercial paper.

Contents

Definition

The term "corporate bond" is not strictly defined. Sometimes, the term is used to include all bonds except those issued by governments in their own currencies. In this case governments issuing in other currencies (such as the country of Mexico issuing in US dollars) will be included. The term sometimes also encompasses bonds issued by supranational organizations (such as European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). Strictly speaking, however, it only applies to those issued by corporations. The bonds of local authorities (municipal bonds) are not included.

Trading

Corporate bonds trade in decentralized, dealer-based, over-the-counter markets. In over-the-counter trading dealers act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers. Corporate bonds are sometimes listed on exchanges (these are called "listed" bonds) and ECNs. However, the vast majority of trading volume happens over-the-counter.

Market

By far the largest market for corporate bonds is in corporate bonds denominated in US Dollars. The US Dollar corporate bond market is the oldest, largest, and most developed. As the term corporate bond is not well defined, the size of the market varies by source, but it is in the $5 to $6 trillion range.

The second largest market is in Euro denominated corporate bonds. Other markets tend to be small by comparison and are usually not well developed, with low trading volumes. Many corporations from other countries issue in either US Dollars or Euros. Foreign corporations issuing bonds in the US Dollar market are called Yankees and their bonds are Yankee bonds.

High Grade vs High Yield

Corporate bonds are divided into two main categories High Grade (also called Investment Grade) and High Yield (also called Non-Investment Grade, Speculative Grade, or Junk Bonds) according to their credit rating. Bonds rated AAA, AA, A, and BBB are High Grade, while bonds rated BB and below are High Yield. This is a significant distinction as High Grade and High Yield bonds are traded by different trading desks and held by different investors. For example, many pension funds and insurance companies are prohibited from holding more than a token amount of High Yield bonds (by internal rules or government regulation). The distinction between High Grade and High Yield is also common to most corporate bond markets.

Bond types

The coupon (i.e. interest payment) is usually taxable for the investor. It is tax deductible for the corporation paying it. For US Dollar corporates, the coupon is almost always semi annual, while Euro denominated corporates pay coupon quarterly.

The coupon can be zero. In this case the bond, a zero-coupon bond, is sold at a discount (i.e. a $100 face value bond sold initially for $80). The investor benefits by paying $80, but collecting $100 at maturity. The $20 gain (ignoring time value of money) is in lieu of the regular coupon. However, this is rare for corporate bonds.

Some corporate bonds have an embedded call option that allows the issuer to redeem the debt before its maturity date. These are called callable bonds. A less common feature is an embedded put option that allows investors to put the bond back to the issuer before its maturity date. These are called putable bonds. Both of these features are common to the High Yield market. High Grade bonds rarely have embedded options. A straight bond that is neither callable nor putable is called a bullet bond.

Other bonds, known as convertible bonds, allow investors to convert the bond into equity. They can also be secured or unsecured, senior or subordinated, and issued out of different parts of the company's capital structure.

Valuation

High Grade corporate bonds usually trade on credit spread. Credit spread is the difference in yield between the corporate bond and a Government bond of similar maturity or duration (e.g. for US Dollar corporates, US Treasury bonds). It is essentially the extra yield an investor earns over a risk free instrument as a compensation for the extra risk: thus, the better the quality of the bond, the smaller the spread between its required return and the yield to maturity (YTM) of the benchmark; see #Risk analysis below. This increased required return is then used to discount the bond's cash flows, using the present value formula for bonds, to obtain the bond's price. See Bond (finance) #Bond valuation for discussion, and for the math, Bond valuation.

Derivatives

The most common derivative on corporate bonds are called credit default swaps (CDS) which are contracts between two parties that provide a synthetic exposure with similar risks to owning the bond. The bond that the CDS is based on is called the Reference Entity and the difference between the credit spread of the bond and the spread of the CDS is called the Bond-CDS basis.

Risk analysis

Compared to government bonds, corporate bonds generally have a higher risk of default. This risk depends on the particular corporation issuing the bond, the current market conditions and governments to which the bond issuer is being compared and the rating of the company. Corporate bond holders are compensated for this risk by receiving a higher yield than government bonds. The difference in yield (called credit spread) reflects the higher probability of default, the expected loss in the event of default, and may also reflect liquidity and risk premia; see Yield spread #Yield spread analysis, Bond credit rating, High-yield debt.

Other risks in corporate bonds

Default Risk has been discussed above but there are also other risks for which corporate bondholders expect to be compensated by credit spread. This is, for example why the Option Adjusted Spread on a Ginnie Mae MBS will usually be higher than zero to the Treasury curve.

Corporate bond indices

Corporate bond indices include the Barclays Corporate Bond Index, S&P U.S. Issued Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index (SPUSCIG), the Citigroup US Broad Investment Grade Credit Index, the JPMorgan US Liquid Index (JULI), and the Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index.

Corporate bond market transparency

Speaking in 2005, SEC Chief Economist Chester S. Spatt offered the following opinion on the transparency of corporate bond markets:

Frankly, I find it surprising that there has been so little attention to pre-trade transparency in the design of the U.S. bond markets. While some might argue that this is a consequence of the degree of fragmentation in the bond market, I would point to options markets and European bond markets-which are similarly fragmented, but much more transparent on a pre-trade basis. [3]

A combination of mathematical and regulatory initiatives are aimed at addressing pre-trade transparency in the U.S. corporate bond markets.

Foreign-currency denominated bonds

In February 2015 it was expected that Apple Inc. would issue its corporate bonds in Swiss francs, as the yields of Switzerland's government bonds went negative. [4] Taking advantage of the very low borrowing costs, the computer maker intended to sell CHF-denominated bonds for the first time. The California-based company did sell positive-yield and Swiss franc-denominated bonds on the 10th of February 2015, borrowing CHF 1.25 billion (nearly equivalent to USD 1.35 billion). It was thought that the company aimed to expand its total shareholder return more in 2015 than in 2014. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices at which the unit is traded. When used by academics, an arbitrage is a transaction that involves no negative cash flow at any probabilistic or temporal state and a positive cash flow in at least one state; in simple terms, it is the possibility of a risk-free profit after transaction costs. For example, an arbitrage opportunity is present when there is the possibility to instantaneously buy something for a low price and sell it for a higher price.

High-yield debt financial product

A high-yield bond is a term in finance for a bond that is rated below investment grade. These bonds have a higher risk of default or other adverse credit events, but offer higher yields than better quality bonds in order to make them attractive to investors.

Bond (finance) instrument of indebtedness

In finance, a bond is an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the holders. The most common types of bonds include municipal bonds and corporate bonds.

Zero-coupon bond a bond where the face value is repaid at the time of maturity.

A zero-coupon bond is a bond where the face value is repaid at the time of maturity. This definition assumes a positive time value of money. It does not make periodic interest payments, or have so-called coupons, hence the term zero-coupon bond. When the bond reaches maturity, its investor receives its par value. Examples of zero-coupon bonds include U.S. Treasury bills, U.S. savings bonds, long-term zero-coupon bonds, and any type of coupon bond that has been stripped of its coupons. Zero Coupon and Deep Discount Bonds are used interchangeably

Government bond Bond issued by a government

A government bond or sovereign bond is a bond issued by a national government, generally with a promise to pay periodic interest payments called coupon payments and to repay the face value on the maturity date. The aim of a government bond is to support government spending. Government bonds are usually denominated in the country's own currency, in which case the government cannot be forced to default, although it may choose to do so. If a government is close to default on its debt the media often refer to this as a sovereign debt crisis.

Convertible bond

In finance, a convertible bond or convertible note or convertible debt is a type of bond that the holder can convert into a specified number of shares of common stock in the issuing company or cash of equal value. It is a hybrid security with debt- and equity-like features. It originated in the mid-19th century, and was used by early speculators such as Jacob Little and Daniel Drew to counter market cornering.

Yield (finance) financial

In finance, the yield on a security is the amount of cash that returns to the owners of the security, in the form of interest or dividends received from it. Normally, it does not include the price variations, distinguishing it from the total return. Yield applies to various stated rates of return on stocks, fixed income instruments, and some other investment type insurance products.

United States Treasury security A marketable, fixed-interest U.S. government debt security

United States Treasury securities are government debt instruments issued by the United States Department of the Treasury to finance government spending as an alternative to taxation. Treasury securities are often referred to simply as Treasurys. Since 2012, U.S. government debt has been managed by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, succeeding the Bureau of the Public Debt.

Yield curve curve showing several interest rates across different contract lengths for a similar debt contract

In finance, the yield curve is a curve showing several yields to maturity or interest rates across different contract lengths for a similar debt contract. The curve shows the relation between the interest rate and the time to maturity, known as the "term", of the debt for a given borrower in a given currency.

Fixed income

Fixed income refers to any type of investment under which the borrower or issuer is obliged to make payments of a fixed amount on a fixed schedule. For example, the borrower may have to pay interest at a fixed rate once a year, and to repay the principal amount on maturity. Fixed-income securities can be contrasted with equity securities – often referred to as stocks and shares – that create no obligation to pay dividends or any other form of income.

Mortgage-backed security security

A mortgage-backed security (MBS) is a type of asset-backed security which is secured by a mortgage or collection of mortgages. The mortgages are aggregated and sold to a group of individuals that securitizes, or packages, the loans together into a security that investors can buy. Bonds securitizing mortgages are usually treated as a separate class, termed residential; another class is commercial, depending on whether the underlying asset is mortgages owned by borrowers or assets for commercial purposes ranging from office space to multi-dwelling buildings.

A credit linked note (CLN) is a form of funded credit derivative. It is structured as a security with an embedded credit default swap allowing the issuer to transfer a specific credit risk to credit investors. The issuer is not obligated to repay the debt if a specified event occurs. This eliminates a third-party insurance provider.

Fixed income analysis is the valuation of fixed income or debt securities, and the analysis of their interest rate risk, credit risk, and likely price behavior in hedging portfolios. The analyst might conclude to buy, sell, hold, hedge or stay out of the particular security.

Bond market financial market where participants can issue new debt or buy and sell debt securities

The bond market is a financial market where participants can issue new debt, known as the primary market, or buy and sell debt securities, known as the secondary market. This is usually in the form of bonds, but it may include notes, bills, and so on.

A bond fund or debt fund is a fund that invests in bonds, or other debt securities. Bond funds can be contrasted with stock funds and money funds. Bond funds typically pay periodic dividends that include interest payments on the fund's underlying securities plus periodic realized capital appreciation. Bond funds typically pay higher dividends than CDs and money market accounts. Most bond funds pay out dividends more frequently than individual bonds.

The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index, or the Agg, is a broad base, market capitalization-weighted bond market index representing intermediate term investment grade bonds traded in the United States. Investors frequently use the index as a stand-in for measuring the performance of the US bond market.

The Merrill Lynch US High Yield Master II Index (H0A0) is a commonly used benchmark index for high-yield corporate bonds. It is administered by Merrill Lynch. The Master II is a measure of the broad high yield market, unlike the Merrill Lynch BB/B Index, which excludes lower-rated securities.

Fixed-Income Relative-Value Investing (FI-RV) is a hedge fund investment strategy made popular by the failed hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management. FI-RV Investors most commonly exploit interest-rate anomalies in the large, liquid markets of North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. The financial instruments traded include government bonds, interest rate swaps and futures contracts.

A Yankee Bond is a bond issued by a foreign entity, such as a bank or company, but is issued and traded in the United States and denominated in U.S. dollars. For instance, Company ABC is headquartered in France. If Company ABC issues bonds in the United States that are denominated in U.S. dollars, the bonds are Yankee bonds. Yankee bonds are normally issued in tranches, a large debt structure financing arrangement into a lot of portion, each portions have different level of risk, interest rates and maturities, and the value of investment grouping might be extremely high, as much as $1 billion. U.S. investors buy Yankee bonds to branch out into overseas markets. Yankee bonds are same with other bonds which will require the borrower to pay a certain interest rate and principal amount according to the terms of the indenture. Yankee Bonds are administered by the Securities Act of 1933. A non-American company will sell bonds in United States to raise capital from American investors. Therefore, the issuers from non-American company have to register Yankee Bonds with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before offering the bond for sale. Hence, U.S. investors can purchase the securities issued by the foreign entity without worrying about the price fluctuation created by changes in currency exchange rates. Yankee bond prices are mostly influenced by the variations of interest rates in U.S. and the financial condition of the issuer.

The corporate debt bubble is the large increase in corporate bonds, excluding that of financial institutions, following the financial crisis of 2007–08. Global corporate debt rose from 84% of gross world product in 2009 to 92% in 2019, or about $72 trillion. In the world's eight largest economies—China, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany—total corporate debt was about $51 trillion in 2019, compared to $34 trillion in 2009. Excluding debt held by financial institutions—which trade debt as mortgages, student loans, and other instruments—the debt owed by non-financial companies in early March 2020 was $13 trillion worldwide, of which about $9.6 trillion was in the U.S.

References

  1. O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 281. ISBN   0-13-063085-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. Vuong, Quan Hoang; Tran, Tri Dung (2010). "Vietnam's Corporate Bond Market, 1990-2010: Some Reflections" (PDF). The Journal of Economic Policy and Research. Institute of Public Enterprises. 6 (1): 1–47.
  3. Spatt, Chester. "Broad Themes in Market Microstructure".
  4. Apple said to hire banks for sale of swiss franc bonds S. Bakewell, Bloomberg, Business, 9 Feb 2015
  5. Apple Sells Two-Part Swiss Franc Bond B. Edwards, The Wall Street Journal, 10 Feb 2015