Bonds Payable A guide to understanding bonds to be repaid

The fair value of an asset is usually determined by the market and agreed upon by a willing buyer and seller, and it can fluctuate often. In other words, the carrying value generally reflects equity, while the fair value reflects the current market price. Thus, bonds payable appear on the liability side of the company’s balance sheet. Since interest rates continually fluctuate, bonds are rarely sold at their face values. Instead, they sell at a premium or at a discount to par value, depending on the difference between current interest rates and the stated interest rate for the bond on the issue date. For example, suppose a company issued bonds with a carrying value (face value) of $1,000,000.

  1. CV is based on the asset’s book value, which depends on the asset’s initial cost and depreciation schedule.
  2. An issuer may redeem some or all of its outstanding bonds before maturity by calling them.
  3. The carrying value of a bond, also known as the book value, refers to the value of a bond as it appears on the issuer’s balance sheet.
  4. The easiest way to understand bond prices is to add a zero to the price quoted in the market.

A bond carrying value by definition is the net amount between the face value of the bond, minus amortized discounts, plus un-amortized premiums. The carrying value of a bond is not equal to the bond payable amount unless the bond was issued at par. Let's say company ABC bought a 3D printing machine to design prototypes of its product. The 3D printing machine costs $50,000 and has a depreciation expense of $3,000 per year over its useful life of 15 years under the straight-line basis of calculating depreciation and amortization. Because the fair value of an asset can be more volatile than its carrying value or book value, it's possible for big discrepancies to occur between the two measures.

As you can see from this bond amortization schedule, column D and column E always add up the the bond par value or face value of $500,000. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services. J.B. Maverick is an active trader, commodity futures broker, and stock market analyst 17+ years of experience, in addition to 10+ years of experience as a finance writer and book editor.

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are ILBs issued by the U.S. government. Suppose a corporation wants to build a new manufacturing plant for $1 million and decides to issue a bond offering to help pay for the plant. The corporation might decide to sell 1,000 bonds to investors for $1,000 each. The corporation – now referred to as the bond issuer − determines an annual interest rate, known as the coupon, and a time frame within which it will repay the principal, or the $1 million. To set the coupon, the issuer takes into account the prevailing interest rate environment to ensure that the coupon is competitive with those on comparable bonds and attractive to investors.

A company may add to the attractiveness of its bonds by giving the bondholders the option to convert the bonds to shares of the issuer’s common stock. In accounting for the conversions of convertible bonds, a company treats the carrying value of bonds surrendered as the capital contributed for shares issued. The carrying value of an asset is based on the figures from a company's balance sheet. When carrying value of a bond a company initially acquires an asset, its carrying value is the same as its original cost. To calculate the carrying value or book value of an asset at any point in time, you must subtract any accumulated depreciation, amortization, or impairment expenses from its original cost. Let’s consider a fictional company, “GreenEnergy Corp.,” that issues a 5-year, 6% bond with a face value of $1,000,000.

This CV can be very different from the asset’s fair value because the fair value will be dependent on the current market condition and subjective. The carrying value of a bond, also known as the book value, refers to the value of a bond as it appears on the issuer’s balance sheet. For bonds that are issued at par, the carrying value is equal to the face value (principal amount) of the bond. However, if the bond is issued at a premium or discount, the carrying value will change over time as the bond approaches maturity. However, market interest rates and other factors influence whether the bond is sold for more (at a premium) or less (at a discount) than its face value. The premium or discount is amortized, or spread out, on financial statements over the life of the bond.


Governments, corporations and municipalities issue bonds when they need capital. If an investor buys a corporate bond, the investor is lending the corporation money. Like a loan, a bond pays interest periodically and repays the principal at a stated time, known as maturity.

Carrying Value of Bonds

The non-government bonds described above tend to be priced relative to government bond yields or the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). Credit spreads adjust based on investor perceptions of credit quality and economic growth, as well as investor demand for risk and higher returns. Duration, like the maturity of the bond, is expressed in years, but as the illustration shows, it is typically less than the maturity. Duration will be affected by the size of the regular coupon payments and the bond’s face value. For a zero-coupon bond, maturity and duration are equal since there are no regular coupon payments and all cash flows occur at maturity.

Speculative-grade bonds tend to be issued by newer companies, companies in particularly competitive or volatile sectors, or companies with troubling fundamentals. While a speculative-grade credit rating indicates a higher default probability, higher coupons on these bonds aim to compensate investors for the higher risk. Ratings can be downgraded if the credit quality of the issuer deteriorates or upgraded if fundamentals improve. The end result of the duration calculation, which is unique to each bond, is a risk measure that allows investors to compare bonds with different maturities, coupons and face values on an apples-to-apples basis.


Later, due to changes in interest rates or its own credit rating, it’s able to buy back those bonds for $950,000. The company would then record a gain on retirement of bonds of $50,000 ($1,000,000 – $950,000). A company usually issues bonds at a premium or discount of the face value. Carrying value can be defined as the difference between the face value of the bond and the unamortized portion of the premium or discount.

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It is also true for a discounted bond, however, in that instance, the effects are reversed. However, after two negative gross domestic product (GDP) rates, the market experiences a significant downturn. Therefore, the fair value of the asset is $3.6 million, or $6 million - ($6 million x 0.40). As you can see, the carrying value of the bond decreases over time as the bond premium is amortized. By the end of the 5-year period, the carrying value of the bond will converge to its face value of $1,000,000, which is the amount GreenEnergy Corp. is obligated to repay to bondholders at maturity. The carrying value of a bond refers to the amount of the bond’s face value plus any unamortized premiums or less any unamortized discounts.

Duration provides the approximate change in price that any given bond will experience in the event of a 100-basis-point (one percentage point) change in interest rates. For example, suppose that interest rates fall by 1%, causing yields on every bond in the market to fall by the same amount. In that event, the price of a bond with a duration of two years will rise 2% and the price of a five-year-duration bond will rise 5%. In the market, bond prices are quoted as a percent of the bond’s face value. The easiest way to understand bond prices is to add a zero to the price quoted in the market. For example, if a bond is quoted at 99 in the market, the price is $990 for every $1,000 of face value and the bond is said to be trading at a discount.

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