# Conversion Prices: Definition, Calculation, and Illustrations

Summary:

The conversion price is a critical concept in finance, determining the price at which convertible securities can be converted into common stock. This article explores the definition, significance, and calculation of conversion prices, providing a clear understanding of this financial term.

## Understanding conversion price

Conversion price, often referred to in the context of corporate bonds or preferred shares, is the price per share at which a convertible security can be transformed into a common stock. This pivotal figure is established when the conversion ratio is determined for the convertible security. The conversion ratio is typically found in the bond indenture for convertible bonds or in the security prospectus for convertible preferred shares.

### Why conversion price matters

Conversion price plays a crucial role when companies seek to raise capital, and they have two primary options: debt and equity. Debt requires repayment to lenders but is generally more cost-effective due to tax advantages associated with interest payments. Equity, on the other hand, may be costlier to raise but does not require repayment.

From an investor’s standpoint, bonds offer safety but limited returns, while equity offers the potential for share price appreciation but lacks protection in case of company default. Convertible securities, such as convertible bonds and preferred shares, offer a hybrid solution that appeals to both companies and investors. Companies are willing to pay a slight premium, and investors are willing to accept slightly lower returns for the embedded conversion option, allowing holders to convert to common shares if the common share price reaches the conversion price.

### The significance of conversion price

The conversion price is instrumental in determining the number of shares an investor will receive upon conversion. If the common shares never reach or exceed the conversion price, the convertible security remains unconverted. Typically, the conversion price is set significantly higher than the current price of common stock, making conversion an attractive option only if the company’s common shares experience a substantial increase in value. Management establishes the conversion price as part of the conversion ratio before the convertible securities are issued to the public. The conversion ratio is calculated as the par value of the convertible security divided by the conversion price.

## How to calculate the conversion price

Calculating the conversion price is a straightforward process. It involves dividing the par value of the convertible security by the conversion ratio. Let’s break it down with an example:

### Example:

Suppose a convertible bond has a conversion ratio of 5, meaning the investor can exchange one bond for five common stock shares. If the bond’s par value is \$1,000, you can calculate the conversion price by dividing \$1,000 by 5, which equals \$200. If the conversion ratio is 10, the conversion price decreases to \$100. In this scenario, the market price must catch up to the conversion price for the security to be converted. A higher conversion ratio results in a lower conversion price, while a lower conversion ratio leads to a higher conversion price.

### Pros and cons of conversion prices

Weigh the risks and benefits

Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

##### Pros
• Flexibility for investors to benefit from share price increases.
• Provides a potential balance between safety and returns.
• Attracts investors looking for hybrid investment options.
##### Cons
• Conversion price can be set too high, making conversion less likely.
• If the common share price doesn’t reach the conversion price, conversion may not occur.
• Investors may face dilution if many convertible securities are converted into common shares.

## Real-world conversion price example

Let’s delve into a real-world example to illustrate the concept of conversion price. Company X issues convertible bonds with a par value of \$1,000 each. The conversion ratio is set at 5, meaning bondholders can convert one bond into five common stock shares. The conversion price is calculated by dividing the par value of the bond (\$1,000) by the conversion ratio (5). Therefore, the conversion price is \$200 per share.

Now, imagine the current market price of Company X’s common stock is \$180 per share. In this scenario, it’s not financially advantageous for bondholders to convert their bonds into stock since the conversion price (\$200) is higher than the market price. As a result, bondholders are likely to retain their bonds until the common stock price appreciates to a level where conversion becomes more appealing.

## Conversion price in the issuance process

Understanding how conversion prices are determined in the issuance process is crucial. Companies decide on the conversion price as part of the conversion ratio before offering convertible securities to the public. The conversion ratio, often detailed in the bond indenture or security prospectus, plays a pivotal role in this decision-making process.

## Conversion price vs. conversion ratio

While the conversion price and conversion ratio are closely related, it’s important to distinguish between the two terms. The conversion price is the price per share at which the conversion takes place, whereas the conversion ratio defines the exchange rate between the convertible security and common stock. In essence, the conversion ratio determines how many shares you’ll receive when you convert a security at the specified conversion price.

## Conclusion

In the world of finance, understanding the concept of conversion price is essential, especially when dealing with convertible securities. This price dictates the conditions under which a security can transform into common stock, providing flexibility and balance for both companies and investors. By considering the pros and cons of conversion prices, investors can make informed decisions when investing in these unique financial instruments. Knowing how to calculate conversion prices empowers investors to navigate the complexities of the financial market with confidence.

### What is the primary role of conversion price in finance?

Conversion price plays a pivotal role in finance by determining the price at which convertible securities can be transformed into common stock. It offers flexibility for both companies and investors seeking a balance between safety and returns.

### How is the conversion price calculated?

The conversion price is calculated by dividing the par value of a convertible security by the conversion ratio. This straightforward calculation helps investors understand the specific price per share at which conversion can occur.

### Can the conversion price be set too high?

Yes, the conversion price can be set too high, making conversion less likely if the common share price doesn’t reach or exceed this level. Companies typically set the conversion price higher than the current stock price to make conversion attractive only if the common shares experience a substantial increase in value.

### What is the difference between conversion price and conversion ratio?

The conversion price is the price per share at which the conversion of a convertible security takes place. In contrast, the conversion ratio defines the exchange rate between the convertible security and common stock, determining the number of shares received upon conversion.

### Should investors consider the pros and cons of conversion prices?

Yes, it’s advisable for investors to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of conversion prices before investing in convertible securities. This assessment helps them make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of the financial market with confidence.

## Key takeaways

• The conversion price is the price per share at which a convertible security can be converted into common stock.
• It plays a vital role in determining the number of shares an investor will receive upon conversion.
• Convertible securities offer a hybrid investment option, appealing to both companies and investors.
• Calculating the conversion price is a straightforward process involving the par value and conversion ratio.
• Investors should consider the pros and cons of conversion prices before investing in convertible securities.
###### View article sources
1. Mutual-to-Stock” Conversions: Tips for Investor – SEC.gov
2. Section 10: Mutual-to-Stock Conversions – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (.gov)
3. Conversion of Savings and Loan Associations from Mutual … – JSTOR