What Is Adjustment Bond?

What Is Adjustment Bond?

3 Min.

When a corporation faces bankruptcy and needs to restructure its debt, it may issue a new security called an adjustment bond. These bonds have a unique structure where interest payments are only made when the company earns profits, and there may be provisions for missed payments to accrue. One benefit of holding adjustment bonds is that the interest paid is a tax-deductible expense, which can offer a tax advantage to investors.


Adjustment bonds represent a novel financial instrument tailored to the specific needs of corporations teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and seeking a comprehensive overhaul of their existing debt arrangements.

Exploring Adjustment Bond

An adjustment bond, a financial instrument employed by distressed corporations, emerges during debt restructuring aimed at mitigating financial hardship or potential insolvency. In this process, existing bondholders are issued adjustment bonds, facilitating the consolidation of debt obligations into this new form, serving as a bankruptcy-preventive measure for corporations navigating arduous financial conditions.

Characterized by a unique structure, adjustment bonds mandate interest payments contingent on the company's earnings, eliminating the risk of default due to payment incapacity. This serves as a mechanism for comprehensive debt recapitalization, enabling the corporation to revise crucial terms like interest rates and maturity periods, thereby enhancing the likelihood of fulfilling financial commitments and sidestepping bankruptcy.

Diverging from the grim scenario of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which often results in asset liquidation and insufficient returns for creditors, adjustment bonds foster collaboration between the company and its debt holders. By allowing the corporation to restructure its debts while maintaining its operational continuity, this approach augments the prospects of creditors receiving higher repayments compared to a liquidation scenario.

Adjustment Bond Mechanism: A Strategic Alternative to Bankruptcy

In cases of financial distress, companies routinely engage in negotiations with creditors, which may encompass bondholders, to explore alternatives to bankruptcy. Should this negotiation culminate in the issuance of adjustment bonds, securing the consent of existing bondholders becomes imperative.

Characteristically, the terms of these bonds stipulate that interest payments are obligatory only when the company registers positive earnings; in the absence of revenues, no interest obligation arises. The specific adjustment bond may variably determine the accrual status of any missed interest payments, whether full, partial, or none. This provision effectively absolves the company of default on its debt in times of negative earnings, averting potential embarrassment. Moreover, adjustment bonds may proffer tax advantages, as interest payments are tax-deductible expenses.

While adjustment bonds can be instrumental in preserving a company's solvency and preventing bankruptcy, creditors might face extended waiting periods for repayment. Alternate options for restructuring a company's capital structure may also encompass debt-to-equity exchanges.

One noteworthy instance pertains to the case of Santa Fe Pacific Corporation in 1895. Amidst considerable financial turmoil, the corporation orchestrated the restructuring of $51.7 million in debts into novel adjustment bonds. The New York Times reported that the terms of this issue permitted the railroad to pay interest only until 1900 if deemed feasible based on earnings. Subsequently, the company possessed the flexibility to defer payments indefinitely. The debt, spanning nearly a century, was ultimately settled in 1995 upon the acquisition of the company by Burlington Northern Inc.


Adjustment bonds are a unique financial instrument used by struggling corporations during debt restructuring to prevent bankruptcy. They tie interest payments to the company's profitability, offering tax advantages to investors. While these bonds foster collaboration and improve the chances of creditors receiving higher repayments compared to liquidation, they may entail longer waiting periods for refunds. The historic case of Santa Fe Pacific Corporation in 1895 illustrates its flexibility and long-term potential.

Adjustment Bond
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