Warrants in Stock Market

A warrant is a security that gives holders confers the right, but not the obligation to buy or sell a specific underlying asset at an agreed price (strike price) on the expiry date. The price movement of the warrant is usually much greater than the underlying share. Hence, investors may expose themselves in higher volatility price movement due to leveraging positions in warrants.

There are 2 exercise styles for warrants, American style and European style. An American style warrant can be exercised at any time within the period before the expiration date, while European style warrant can only be exercised on the day of the expiration date. In Malaysia, we only practice the American style of warrants.

There is 2 type of warrant traded in Malaysia, which are company warrant and a structured warrant.

Company warrant

Company warrant also called as a stock warrant. It is issued by the listed company itself to raise money. It gives you the right to purchase a company’s stock at a specific price within the contract period. Once holders choose to exercise the warrants, new shares will be issued by the company for the transaction.

The validity period for company warrant can up to 10 years and determined by the issuance company. Once new shares were issued, the total company shares will increase and earning per share will be reduced. This situation makes existing stockholder owns a smaller or diluted percentage of the company. Issuing warrants can help to lower down the financing cost for the company(as raise capital through issuing instead of borrowing) as well as secure the additional capital if the stock does well.

Company warrant can be found in Bursa market with the stock code followed by –WA or WB or WC. ‘W’ stands for the representative code of company warrant while the ‘A/B/C’ is the series of the warrants issued and it can up to ‘Z’ depends on the company issuance. A company warrant price is usually lower than its mother share price and has listed the conversion ratio for exchanging into 1 share. The said of buying warrant can be volatile mostly due to the gearing ratio. When the gearing ratio is high, it will reflect higher changes on the warrant when the price of mother share is increasing or decreasing. When investors expect there is appreciation on company future value, they will purchase the company warrant which is lower cost at the same time minimises the loss if the share price drop.

Structured warrant

The structured warrant also named as an exchange-traded option or stock option and issued by financial institutions. The structured warrant settlement is in cash and does not involve any mother share. In Malaysia, there are 6 licensed issuers which are AmBank Berhad, CIMB Bank Berhad, Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad, Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, Macquarie Capital Securities (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and RHB Investment Bank. The objective of having a structured warrant is to create the capital liquidity in the market as the price of the warrant is just a fraction of its underlying share. The issuer aims to make a profit on the risk management of the warrants sold, in doing so they also take on risk. When issuers sell warrants, they will buy shares or other derivatives to hedge their positions and attempt to capture a margin spread regardless the share price goes up or down.

Structured warrant separated into call warrant and put warrant. A call warrant gives the right but not obligation to buy the underlying asset at the fixed exercise price within the limited period of time. It will increase in value when the price of the underlying asset goes up due to the gearing ratio effect. If the settlement price of the underlying is above the strike price at expiry, the call warrant is deemed to be “in-the-money” (profit) and the holder will receive a cash payment. Otherwise, the warrant will expire worthless.

Put warrant gives the right but not obligation to sell the underlying asset at the fixed exercise price within a limited period. The value of put warrant will increase when the price of the underlying asset goes down. Put warrant price will inversely differ from the movement of the underlying asset. When the settlement price of the underlying is below the strike price at expiry, the put warrant is deemed to be “in-the-money” and the holder will receive a cash payment. Otherwise, the warrant will expire worthless too.

So the value of the structured warrant will be much valuable when in longer maturity date compare to shorter validity, which deemed to have a higher risk. Below illustrated the different company warrant and a structured warrant.

Company Warrant vs Structured Warrant

Company Warrant Structured Warrant
Issued by Company itself Financial Institution
Maturity date Up to 10years Maximum 2 years
Liquidity Low High
Stock issued Dilution, new stock Not involving underlying stock
Code -WA -PA (Put warrant)
-CA (Call warrant)
Benefits Encourage sale of shares and raise capital without incurring new debt Enabling traders to long and short the stock market or index with minimal entry cost

 

Written by Evelyn Yong | 13 June 2018.

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