Par Value

What is Par Value?

Par value is also known as the face value or nominal value of the securities such as shares, debentures, and bonds. It refers to the minimum amount at which per share or bond is issued to the investors/lender.

In the case of fixed income securities such as bonds, debenture the face value or nominal value is the main component of raising money from the borrowers/investors. Par value represents the contractual agreement between the issuer and the lender. This agreement makes the issuing entity liable to repay the face value indicated on the bond certificate to the lender/investor on maturity. 

For example, if a company issues 100 bonds with a face value of Rs. 100 per bond to the lender repayable on a future date. So, when the bond matures, the company has to repay 10,000 (100 x100) to the lender. 

But in the case of shares, par value is not of much importance. As it represents only the face value and thus the part/share of the holder in the nominal/ paid-up capital of the company. However, a company can issue the shares at a premium at the time of offerings. And the prices keep on changing in the stock market. In other words, par value remains valid for financial statement presentation and dividend distribution purposes. 

Face value is indicated on the bond or share certificate issued by the company / Government to the investor. It is static and does not fluctuate like the market value of a share or bonds. A company also generally specifies the par value of the securities issued in its articles of association.

Par Value of a Share

While referring to share, we often use terms such as at par, above par, or below par. Usually, the par value of the shares is the minimum amount per share at which a company can offer its shares to the public. By issuing shares, the company accumulates equity capital. Hence the face value is the minimum amount required to subscribe to the shares of a company for all at par offerings.

Before the electronic version of share issuance, the companies used to issue share certificates to the investors indicating the face value of the shares. Previously it was permissible to issue shares below par.  However, then the shareholders remain liable to the creditors for the differential amount, in case of a shortfall in capital. So, in line with regulatory changes, now the companies cannot issue shared below the face value. Nevertheless, a company can always issue its shares at premium-above the face value. The money received as premium is accounted for in the separate account known as share premium account. The share capital account indicates the face value and paid-up value of shares.

Understanding with Example

A company Bardhhaman Ltd. issues 1 lakh shares for public subscription, and each share has a face value of rupees 10. Then Rs. 10 is the minimum price to issue or purchase the shares of Bardhaman ltd.

The total worth of shares = face value x no of shares= Rs. 10 x 100,000=10,000,000

The face value of the shares is usually in small denominations such as Rs.10, Rs 5, Rs.1. A company reports the total par value of shares in its balance sheet under the head shareholder’s equity as a capital contribution or paid-up capital.

The concept of the nominal value or face value has undergone a sea change in the present context of shares/stock. It has now become optional, and a company may choose to issue no par value or low par value stock. In case the company sets no par value, the share certificate must mention -‘No par value’ on the face of the certificate.

Par Value

Par Value of Bonds

A bond is an agreement of loan between the two parties, where the person issuing the bonds is the borrower of the money and agrees to repay the borrowed amount at a predetermined date to the investor or the lender. The set date is the date of maturity of the bonds. The Par value of the bond refers to the amount that the bond issuer (borrowing party) has to repay to its bondholders (lender/investor) upon maturity.

Issuers may not always issue bonds at par. It could be at a discount (below par) or a premium (above par). The par value remains the same and is not affected by the issue price. Moreover, the redemption of bonds on maturity could be at par value or a premium, in line with the terms of issue.

Understanding with Example

Suppose a bond has a face value of Rs. 400 is trading at 480; then, it is trading at a premium. On the contrary, if it is trading at Rs. 380, then it is selling at a discount.

A bond issued at a premium or discount depends upon several factors, such as the interest rate offered vs. what is prevailing in the market, the financial strength of the company, its credit rating, the business prospects of the company, etc. The coupon rate or the interest rate is the compensation that the bondholders get for lending his money to the bond issuer.

Suppose a risk-free return is prevailing at 6% in the market, and the company is also offering the same rate that means the company is quite stable on all aspects – mostly government companies or guaranteed by the government. Usually, to attract a lender/investor, a company needs to offer a higher rate of interest than the risk-free rate of return. Moreover, this differential would go on widening as per the financial standing of the company. So, the lower the strength and rating of the entity offering the bonds, the higher would be the interest rate.

Suppose a company’s bond with a coupon rate of 6% is trading where the prevailing interest rate is also 6%, it is trading at par. And if the current interest rate is 7.5 %, the bond with 6 % would trade at a discount. Conversely, if the prevailing interest rate is 5%, bonds with a 6 % offering would trade at a premium in the market.

Difference between Par Value and Market Value

The main difference between the par value and market value are below:

Par ValueMarket Value
It is the stated value of the market securities. It is printed on the face of the share and bond certificate.It is the stated value of the market securities. It is printed on the face of the share and bond certificate.
Face value is static and is not affected by the fluctuation in the market rate.It fluctuates from time to time as per the market conditions and activities.


For Bonds

It sets the benchmark for pricing for the company issuing bonds. Factors such as interest rate prevailing in the market and the credit status of the bond affect the market price of the bond. The market price of the bonds may be above or below the par value.  If it is trading above par, it is trading at a premium as it offers a higher interest rate than the current market rate. The investor pays more as he expects higher returns. However, bonds trading below par has a low-interest rate than the market rate.

For Shares

Par value is also necessary for startup or business keen to raise money from the public by issuing shares. At an early stage, the entity may not be able to offer shares at a premium; hence, still, it is the usual practice to put a par value on shares. Setting a par value also binds the company not to offer shares below par value.

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".


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