NCDs, or Non-Convertible Debentures, are debt instruments issued by corporations to raise capital. Unlike convertible debentures, which can be converted into equity shares at the option of the holder, NCDs cannot be converted into equity shares and remain as debt obligations until maturity. Here are some key features and characteristics of NCDs:

  • Issuer NCDs are typically issued by corporations, including public and private companies, financial institutions, infrastructure companies, and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), among others. These entities raise funds by issuing NCDs to investors.
  • Debt Obligation When investors buy NCDs, they are essentially lending money to the issuer in exchange for a fixed or floating interest rate and the promise of repayment of the principal amount at maturity. NCDs represent a contractual debt obligation of the issuer to the holder.
  • Interest Rate NCDs offer fixed or floating interest rates, also known as coupon rates, which determine the periodic interest payments made to investors. The coupon rate can be determined at the time of issuance or linked to a benchmark rate such as the government bond yield or a market reference rate.
  • Maturity Period NCDs have a specific maturity period, ranging from short-term (less than one year) to medium-term (one to five years) or long-term (five years or more). At maturity, the issuer repays the principal amount (face value) to the NCD holders.
  • Credit Rating NCDs are assigned credit ratings by credit rating agencies based on the issuer's creditworthiness and the likelihood of default. Higher-rated NCDs (such as AAA or AA) are considered safer investments with lower default risk but may offer lower yields, while lower-rated NCDs carry higher default risk but may offer higher yields to compensate investors for the added risk.
  • Secured vs. Unsecured NCDs can be secured or unsecured. Secured NCDs are backed by specific assets or collateral of the issuer, providing additional security to investors in case of default. Unsecured NCDs, also known as debentures, are not backed by collateral and are solely reliant on the issuer's creditworthiness.
  • Transferability NCDs are freely transferable, allowing investors to buy and sell them in the secondary market before maturity. The market price of NCDs fluctuates based on changes in interest rates, credit risk, and market demand.
  • Tax Treatment Interest income earned from NCDs is taxable as per the investor's income tax slab rate. However, tax-saving NCDs may offer tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, allowing investors to claim deductions on investments up to a specified limit.
  • Redemption Options Some NCDs may offer early redemption options, allowing the issuer to buy back the NCDs before maturity at a predetermined price (callable NCDs). Investors should carefully review the terms and conditions of NCD issuances to understand redemption provisions and call options.
  • Liquidity The liquidity of NCDs depends on market demand and trading activity in the secondary market. Higher-rated and actively traded NCDs typically have higher liquidity, while lower-rated or less actively traded NCDs may have lower liquidity, which can impact pricing and transaction costs.

NCDs provide investors with an opportunity to earn fixed income and diversify their investment portfolios. However, investors should carefully evaluate the credit quality, interest rate risk, liquidity, and tax implications of NCDs before investing, and consider consulting with financial advisors or tax professionals for personalized advice.