Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock

Updated on January 4, 2024
Article byGayatri Ailani
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock (PERCS)?

Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock (PERCS) is a type of hybrid security that combines features of both equity and debt instruments. It is a security that can be converted into common stock at its maturity, with the possibility of converting earlier based on specific conditions. Additionally, the issuing company can redeem PERCS before maturity at a premium.

Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock

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These preferred stocks come with various provisions, including automatic conversion into equity on a specified date and a cap on the value of shares issued to the investor. It is classified as an equity derivative that requires mandatory conversion into preferred stock. Holders of PERCS not only receive the yield on the security but also have the potential for capital appreciation, which may be subject to a predetermined cap.

Key Takeaways

  • Preference equity redemption cumulative stocks are hybrid financial instruments that blend features of preferred stock and equity derivatives. They are often classified as convertible preferred stocks with distinct characteristics.
  • PERCS typically come with a predetermined maturity date. At this point, they are converted into common stock of the issuing company based on a conversion ratio specified in the issuance terms.
  • These instruments offer an enhanced dividend yield compared to regular preferred stock. This makes them appealing to investors searching for higher yields, especially in a low-interest-rate environment.

Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock Explained

Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock (PERCS) represents convertible preferred stock with an augmented dividend, subject to term and participation limitations. At maturity, PERCS shares can be converted into shares of common stock of the underlying company. The conversion process involves a 1:1 exchange rate if the underlying common shares are trading below the PERCS strike price. However, if the underlying common shares are trading above the PERCS strike price, the exchange is limited to the value of the strike price.

PERCS is important in finance by offering companies a flexible tool to raise capital. It provides investors with an investment option that blends equity and debt features, attracting those seeking a balance between income and potential capital appreciation. For companies, PERCS can be advantageous because it enables the issuance of security that carries the potential for equity conversion while also offering a set dividend rate, enhancing their ability to attract investors and diversify their sources of financing. This makes PERCS an essential financial instrument that can help corporations optimize their capital structure and meet specific financial objectives.

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Characteristics

The characteristics of preference equity redemption cumulative stock can vary depending on the specific terms and conditions set by the issuer. However, here are some common characteristics of PERCS:

  • Convertible Preferred Stock: PERCS is a form of preferred stock that can be converted into common stock of the issuing company at a predetermined conversion ratio.
  • Enhanced Dividend: PERCS often offers an enhanced or higher dividend rate than regular preferred stocks. This is to attract investors seeking higher yields.
  • Capped Price: PERCS have a capped price, which means that the conversion into common stock is typically limited to the value of the capped price. If the underlying common stock price exceeds this capped price, the conversion is still limited to the capped price.
  • Limited Upside Potential: Due to the capped conversion feature, the upside potential of PERCS is indeed restricted compared to regular common stock. Investors should be aware that they won’t fully participate in the potential appreciation of the underlying common stock.
  • Structure Similar to Covered Call Options: PERCS functions similarly to covered call options, primarily due to the capped price and limited potential for capital appreciation. However, they are distinct from traditional covered call options and should not be confused with identical instruments.
  • Redemption at a Premium: Issuers may provide an option for early redemption of PERCS before the maturity date, but this usually comes at a premium over the capped price. This is a correct point.
  • Automatic Conversion: If the PERCS are not redeemed by the holder within a specified time frame (usually three to five years), they are automatically converted into the issuing company’s common stock shares. This is a significant aspect of PERCS, ensuring that the investment eventually converts into equity.

Examples

Let us look at the preference equity redemption cumulative stock examples to understand the concept better- 

Example #1 

Imagine an investor, Anna, who wants a steady income from her investment and the potential for future gains. Anna decided to buy Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock (PERCS) from Company ABC. These PERCS pay Anna regular fixed dividends, like preferred stock, while also allowing her to convert them into common shares of Company ABC in the future if the stock price rises. It’s a way to get the best of both worlds—reliable income and a chance for growth.

Example #2

Company XYZ needs to raise money for a big project. Instead of taking on more debt, they issue PERCS to investors. These PERCS promise to pay a fixed dividend, attractive to income-seeking investors. At the same time, if the company’s stock price soars, the investors can convert their PERCS into common shares and benefit from the increased value. This helps Company XYZ raise capital without overburdening themselves with more traditional debt obligations.

Synthetic PERCS

Synthetic preference equity redemption cumulative stock are financial products that replicate the characteristics of mandatory conversion preferred stock characteristics without direct involvement from the underlying corporation. These synthetic instruments function more like debt obligations on the issuing company, which can affect their tax treatment. Using the buy-write strategy to generate income from selling call options on the underlying asset accurately represents how these instruments work.

While synthetic PERCS mimic some aspects of traditional PERCS, they may differ significantly in their risk and reward profiles, and their tax treatment can vary depending on local regulations and the specific structure of the synthetic instrument. Additionally, the term “synthetic PERCS” is not a standardized or widely recognized financial term, so these instruments’ specifics can vary.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the advantages of PERCS?

PERCS offers investors a unique blend of features, including the potential for steady income through fixed dividends, the option to convert into common stock for potential capital appreciation, and the ability to participate in the issuer’s growth without diluting existing shareholders. For companies, PERCS provides a flexible way to raise capital and diversify their financing options.

2. What are the limitations of PERCS?

One limitation of PERCS is its capped price, which limits potential gains for investors. Additionally, they may be more complex than traditional preferred or common stocks, making them less suitable for some investors. The conversion feature may not be attractive if the underlying stock performs poorly. Moreover, its tax treatment can be less favorable than regular dividends.

3. What is PERCS vs. preference equity?

PERCS is a specific type of preference equity. While both involve preferred stocks, PERCS has unique features, including a conversion option into common stock, a capped price, and the potential for automatic conversion. Regular preference equity typically lacks these characteristics and may have a simpler structure with fixed dividends without the conversion option and capped price.

This has been a guide to what is Preference Equity Redemption Cumulative Stock (PERCS). We explain its characteristics, examples, and synthetic PERCS. You can learn more about it from the following articles –

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