Debentures explained with types


Debentures explained with types

Debentures explained with types  – According to Section 2(30) of Companies Act 2013 “debenture” includes debenture stock, bonds or any other instrument of a company evidencing a debt, whether constituting a charge on the assets of the company or not; It is evident from the definition that the term debentures covers both secured and unsecured debentures.

Debentures are generally classified into different categories on the basis of:

(1) Convertibility of the Instrument

(2) Security of the Instrument

(3) Redemption ability

(4) Registration of Instrument

1. On the basis of convertibility, Debentures may be classified into following categories:

(A) Non Convertible Debentures (NCD): These instruments retain the debt character and can not be converted into equity shares.

(B) Partly Convertible Debentures (PCD): A part of these instruments are converted into Equity shares in the future at notice of the issuer. The issuer decides the ratio for conversion. This is normally decided at the time of subscription.

(C) Fully convertible Debentures (FCD): These are fully convertible into Equity shares at the issuer’s notice. The ratio of conversion is decided by the issuer. Upon conversion the investors enjoy the same status as ordinary shareholders of the company.

(D) Optionally Convertible Debentures (OCD): The investor has the option to either convert these debentures into shares at price decided by the issuer/agreed upon at the time of issue.

2. On the basis of Security, debentures are classified into:

(A) Secured Debentures: These instruments are secured by a charge on the fixed assets of the issuer company. So if the issuer fails on payment of either the principal or interest amount, his assets can be sold to repay the liability to the investors.

Section 71(3) of the Companies Act, 2013 provides that secured debentures may be issued by a company subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government through rules.

(B) Unsecured Debentures: These instrument are unsecured in the sense that if the issuer defaults on payment of the interest or principal amount, the investor has to be along with other unsecured creditors of the company, they are also said to be naked debentures.

3. On the basis of Redeemability, debentures are classified into:

(A) Redeemable Debentures: It refers to the debentures which are issued with a condition that the debentures will be redeemed at a fixed date or upon demand, or after notice, or under a system of periodical drawings. Debentures are generally redeemable and on redemption these can be reissued or cancelled. The person who has been re-issued the debentures shall have the same rights and priorities as if the debentures had never been redeemed.

(B) Perpetual or Irredeemable Debentures: A Debenture, in which no time is fixed for the company to pay back the money, is an irredeemable debenture. The debenture holder cannot demand payment as long as the company is a going concern and does not make default in making payment of the interest. But all debentures, whether redeemable or irredeemable become payable on the company going into liquidation. However, after the commencement of the Companies Act, 2013, now a company cannot issue perpetual or irredeemable debentures.

4. On the basis of Registration, debentures may be classified as

(A) A Registered Debentures: Registered debentures are made out in the name of a particular person, whose name appears on the debenture certificate and who is registered by the company as holder on the Register of debenture holders. Such debentures are transferable in the same manner as shares by means of a proper instrument of transfer duly stamped and executed and satisfying the other requirements specified in Section 56 of the Companies Act, 2013.

(B) Bearer debentures: Bearer debentures on the other hand, are made out to bearer, and are negotiable instruments, and so transferable by mere delivery like share warrants. The person to whom a bearer debenture is transferred become a “holder in due course” and unless contrary is shown, is entitled to receive and recover the principal and the interest accrued thereon. [Calcutta Safe Deposit Co. Ltd. v. Ranjit Mathuradas Sampat (1971) 41 Com Cases 1063].

Pari Passu Clause in case of Debentures

Debentures are usually issued in a series with a pari passu clause and it follows that they would be on an equal footing as to security and should the security be enforced, the amount realised shall be divided pro- rata, i.e. they are be discharged rateably.

In the event of deficiency of assets, they will abate proportionately. The expression ‘pari passu’ implies with equal step, equally treated, at the same rate, or at par with. When it is said that existing debentures shall be issued pari passu clause, it implies that no difference will be made between the old and new debentures.

If the words pari passu are not used, the debentures will be payable according to the date of issue, and if they are all issued on the same day, they will be payable accordingly to their numerical order. However, a company cannot issue a new series of debentures so as to rank pari passu with prior series, unless the power to do so is expressly reserved and contained in the debentures of the previous series.


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