Tesla settles in cash $920 million convertible bond obligation

Tesla settles in cash $920 million convertible bond obligation
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song -
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(Reuters) - Tesla Inc has paid off a $920 million convertible bond obligation in cash, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

The bond, which matured on Friday, had a $359.87 conversion price, but the electric carmaker's shares closed down 8 percent at $294.79, forcing the company to settle its largest ever debt payment in cash.

Convertible issues give bondholders the right to trade their debt for equity after shares rise over a certain price, allowing holders to benefit from a rising share price, while also offering bond-like protection if it falls.

Friday's payout will make a significant dent in the $3.7 billion in cash Tesla had on hand at the end of 2018.

Although the carmaker's business is cash-intensive and has historically struggled to remain cash flow positive, Musk has said previously that he would not tap equity markets in the near future.

Wall Street analysts, however, have predicted Tesla may need to add to its $9.4 billion (7.1 billion pounds) debt pile if its cash needs remain significant.

Tesla on Thursday offered for the first time a $35,000 version of its Model 3 sedan and said its global sales would now be online-only.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Kate Duguid in New York; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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