# Accounting for Zero-Coupon Bonds

A zero-coupon bond is a bond which does not pay any periodic interest but whose total return results from the difference between its issuance price and maturity value.

For example, if Company Z issues 1 million bonds of $1000 face value bonds due to maturity in 5 years but which do not pay any interest, it is a zero-coupon bond. The company must price the bond significantly below par to be able to sell it.

## Issuance of a zero-coupon bond

In order to determine the amount at which to recognize the issuance of a zero-coupon bond, we need to be able to value it. The value of a zero-coupon bond equals the present value of its maturity value determined as follows:

$$ \text{PV} = \frac{\text{FV}}{(\text{1}+\text{r})^{\text{n}}} $$

Where PV is the present value of the bond, FV is the maturity value, r is the periodic discount rate and FV is the maturity value.

Considering the example above, if the required return is 10%, the present value of a $1,000 bond due in 5 years would be $680.58.

$$ \text{PV} = \frac{\text{\$1,000}}{(\text{1}+\text{8%})^{\text{5}}}=\text{\$680.58} $$

This would result in total proceeds of $680.58 million which are recognized as follows:

Bank | $680.58 M | |

Bond discount | $319.42 M | |

Bonds payable | $1,000 M |

On the statement of financial position, the bonds are presented at an amount equal to the face value of the bonds minus the discount:

Bonds payable | $1,000 M |

Bond discount | ($319.42 M) |

Carrying amount | $680.58 M |

## Recognition of interest expense

Under the effective interest method, interest expense equals the product of carrying amount of the bonds and the effective interest rate:

Interest Expense = (Bonds Payable - Discount) × Effective Interest Rate

In the example above, interest expense equals $54.45 million (=$680.58 million × 8%). This is recognized using the following journal entry:

Interest Expense | $54.45 M | |

Bond discount | $54.45 M |

The carrying amount of the bonds after the first interest payment is as follows:

Bonds payable | $1,000 M |

Bond discount ($319.42 million - $54.45 million) | ($264.97 M) |

Carrying amount | $735.03 M |

by Obaidullah Jan, ACA, CFA and last modified on