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Lifestyle Tesla is reportedly planning to pay off its next chunk of convertible debt in an odd way (TSLA)

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Reuters / Kyle Grillot

  • Tesla will pay holders of its convertible notes due in March with a mix of cash and equity, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
  • The unusual move could be a signal that the company believes it can continue to sustain the profits it turned in the third quarter.

Tesla has $920 million worth of debt coming due in March, and it's reportedly chosen to pay holders of the convertible notes in an unusual fashion.

Bloomberg News' Dana Hull and Molly Smith reported Thursday that the company informed holders of the notes last week that, if they elect to convert the notes, they will be paid in a 50-50 mix of equity and cash.

The bonds have a conversion price of $359.88 per share. If Tesla's share price is below that amount by the due date of March 1, 2019, the notes must be paid by the company in cash to the holders. If the stock price is above, notes are generally converted into equity shares.

Tesla's stock closed at $363 on Thursday, roughly 0.8% above the conversion price of the bonds. The move to pay in a mix of cash and equity could be a signal that CEO Elon Musk and other executives believe the stock price will remain above the bond's convert price, and that the company can continue to turn a profit as it did in the third quarter of this year.

A company spokesperson declined to comment.

While the March tranche is the most immediately due, it's not the largest of Tesla's outstanding debt. Some $1.3 billion and $977 million of convertible coupons are due in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and $1.8 billion of traditional bonds due in 2025 are currently outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares of Tesla rose about 0.9% in after-hours trading Thursday, and are up about 12.8% since the beginning of the year.

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