Convertible Subordinate Note

Definition of 'Convertible Subordinate Note'


A short-term debt security that can be changed into common stock. A convertible subordinate note is a short-term bond that is convertible (it can be exchanged for common stock at the discretion of the bondholder) and ranks below other loans (it is subordinate to other debt). In the event the issuer becomes bankrupt and liquidates its assets, as a subordinate debt the convertible subordinate note will be repaid after other debt securities have been paid. As with all debt securities, however, the note will be repaid before stock.

Investopedia explains 'Convertible Subordinate Note'


A convertible is a type of security that can be converted into common stock at the holder's option. Convertible securities can be exchanged for common stock at a stated conversion price. The number of common shares that can be obtained is determined by the conversion ratio, which divides the par value of the security by the conversion price. For example, assume the conversion price at the time of issue for a convertible subordinate note is $50. Each $1,000 note, then, could be exchanged for 20 shares of common stock ($1,000 / $50 = 20 shares).

The subordinate aspect of the note describes its ranking among other loans. As a subordinate debt, it is considered a junior debt, one that will not be paid until other, senior debt holders are paid in full. A convertible subordinate note, then, is a debt security that is both convertible to common stock at some point in the future and junior to other debts. Because the holder has the option to covert to stock, the note tends to offer a lower rate of return. In general, the more valuable the conversion feature, the lower the rate of return.

Conversion can be either voluntary or forced. A voluntary conversion is initiated by the holder and can occur at any time up to the expiration of the conversion feature. A forced conversion is initiated by the issuing company and can occur at any point in time. A company may, for example, exercise the call privilege on the convertible security. This may be done to remove long-term debt from its balance sheet without having to redeem bonds for cash. A company can encourage conversion by raising its dividend on common stock so that holders are better off owning the common stock.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying a company's shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. The investment community uses this figure to determine a company's size, as opposed to sales or total asset figures.
  2. Oil Reserves

    An estimate of the amount of crude oil located in a particular economic region. Oil reserves must have the potential of being extracted under current technological constraints. For example, if oil pools are located at unattainable depths, they would not be considered part of the nation's reserves.
  3. Joint Venture - JV

    A business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task. This task can be a new project or any other business activity. In a joint venture (JV), each of the participants is responsible for profits, losses and costs associated with it.
  4. Aggregate Risk

    The exposure of a bank, financial institution, or any type of major investor to foreign exchange contracts - both spot and forward - from a single counterparty or client. Aggregate risk in forex may also be defined as the total exposure of an entity to changes or fluctuations in currency rates.
  5. Organic Growth

    The growth rate that a company can achieve by increasing output and enhancing sales. This excludes any profits or growth acquired from takeovers, acquisitions or mergers. Takeovers, acquisitions and mergers do not bring about profits generated within the company, and are therefore not considered organic.
  6. Family Limited Partnership - FLP

    A type of partnership designed to centralize family business or investment accounts. FLPs pool together a family's assets into one single family-owned business partnership that family members own shares of. FLPs are frequently used as an estate tax minimization strategy, as shares in the FLP can be transferred between generations, at lower taxation rates than would be applied to the partnership's holdings.
Trading Center