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Deciphering Debentures: Understanding the Essence of Debt Investments

Understanding Debentures:

At its core, a debenture represents a long-term debt instrument issued by corporations, governments, or other entities to raise capital. It is essentially a loan that investors provide to the issuing entity in return for regular interest payments and the repayment of the principal amount at maturity. Debentures serve as an alternative to traditional bank loans, offering flexibility and diversity in the financial landscape.

Types of Debentures:

Secured Debentures: These debentures are backed by specific assets or collateral offered by the issuing entity. In case of default, the debenture holders have a claim on the assets pledged as security.

Unsecured Debentures: Also known as "naked" or "simple" debentures, these instruments are not backed by any specific assets. In case of default, the debenture holders rely solely on the general creditworthiness of the issuing entity.

Convertible Debentures: These debentures provide investors with the option to convert their debt holdings into equity shares of the issuing company at a predetermined conversion price and within a specified time frame.

Non-Convertible Debentures: As the name suggests, non-convertible debentures do not possess the conversion feature. Investors receive fixed interest payments and the repayment of principal at maturity.

Features and Benefits:

Fixed Interest Payments: Debentures typically offer a fixed rate of interest, providing investors with predictable income streams throughout the tenure of the investment.

Diversification: Debentures enable investors to diversify their investment portfolios by allocating capital to different entities, industries, or sectors.

Potential Capital Appreciation: Convertible debentures offer the opportunity for investors to benefit from capital appreciation if they choose to convert their debentures into equity shares of the issuing company.

Priority in Repayment: In the event of liquidation or bankruptcy, debenture holders usually enjoy a higher claim on the assets of the issuing entity compared to equity shareholders.

Long-Term Investment: Debentures are typically issued with long tenures, providing investors with an option for stable, long-term investment opportunities.

Risks and Considerations:

Default Risk: There is always a risk that the issuing entity may default on its interest payments or fail to repay the principal amount at maturity, posing a risk to the debenture holders.

Interest Rate Risk: Debentures are sensitive to changes in interest rates. If interest rates rise, the market value of existing debentures may decline.

Liquidity Risk: Some debentures may have limited secondary market liquidity, making it challenging for investors to sell


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About the author

Sabbir Rahman is Managing Director of Langdon Capital. He has held prior roles with Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Barclays Investment Bank. He has executed over £60 billion in notional value of transactions across financing, M&A and derivatives with global corporates, private equity funds and financial sponsor groups.

About Langdon Capital

With a network of 700+ alternative investors, Langdon Capital raises debt and equity capital between £1m and £25m for high-growth and innovative scale-ups with >£1m annual revenue and >30% annual revenue growth in the technology, environmental impact and renewable energy sectors, at Series A or beyond, to help fulfil growth ambitions and paths to profitability.

This is not financial advice or any offer, invitation or inducement to sell or provide financial products or services or to engage in any form of investment activity.

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