A bond is a debt security, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and is obliged to repay the principal, often with interest, at a later date, termed maturity. Bonds are different from shares in that they represent a part of the company's debt, not a part of the ownership of the company. They confer no voting rights at all, but they do get paid out before shareholders in case of bankruptcy.
Bonds are long-term loans, which typically give the holder an absolute right to receive interest payments. Bonds generally have a fixed maturity date at which point the principal (i.e. the amount originally loaned) is repayable. An example of a company bond would be a Tesco 5-year bond paying 8% p.a. If it were issued in 1993, it would pay interest until 1998, when the principal would be repaid.
Sometimes, bondholders have the right to convert their bonds into ordinary shares at a fixed price on or before a certain date. These instruments are called 'convertible bonds', imaginatively enough.
The Digital Look Bonds Centre contains comprehensive information on all types of bonds and strips, plus charts.
Benchmark bonds are highlighted for you, and you can filter all bonds based on type.
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