Finance Terms: Euro Medium Term Notes (EMTN)

A graph showing the rise and fall of the euro medium term note (emtn) market

If you have been tuning in to the world of finance, you might have heard the term Euro Medium Term Notes (EMTNs) being thrown around a lot lately. These debt securities have gained immense popularity as a fundraising tool for corporations and governments, thanks to their easy access and flexible nature. In this article, we will explore in detail everything you need to know about EMTNs – from their basics, advantages, and structure to their market trends and risks involved. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

Understanding the Basics of EMTNs

First things first, what are EMTNs, and how do they work? Simply put, EMTNs are unsecured debt securities that can be issued by companies, financial institutions, or governments to raise capital. These notes are denominated in euros and have a medium-term maturity, typically ranging between one and ten years.

The EMTN program is established by the issuer in partnership with financial intermediaries, who act as dealers and offer the notes for sale to investors. The EMTN program provides the issuer with a platform to access the capital markets and issue notes on a continuous basis, as and when required.

EMTNs are a popular choice for issuers due to their flexibility and ease of issuance. The notes can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the issuer, with features such as variable interest rates, call and put options, and different currencies. Additionally, EMTNs are typically issued in large denominations, making them attractive to institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies. Overall, EMTNs provide a cost-effective way for issuers to raise capital and diversify their funding sources.

How EMTNs Work and Their Importance in Finance

The key advantage of EMTNs is that they offer issuers a flexible and efficient means of raising capital, as compared to traditional bank loans. With EMTNs, issuers can access a broader investor base and can tailor the notes to meet their specific funding needs. Moreover, EMTNs have a lower issuance cost and offer more standardized documentation, making them an attractive option for issuers.

For investors, EMTNs offer a convenient and diversified investment option. These notes can be traded on the secondary market, allowing investors to buy and sell the securities as required. Additionally, EMTNs offer higher yields than traditional bank deposits, making them an attractive investment option for those seeking higher returns.

EMTNs are also beneficial for the global economy as they promote cross-border investments and international trade. By providing a platform for issuers to raise capital from investors across different countries, EMTNs facilitate the flow of funds and promote economic growth. Furthermore, EMTNs can be denominated in different currencies, which reduces currency risk for both issuers and investors.

Advantages and Disadvantages of EMTNs

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of EMTNs in detail.


  • Flexibility in terms of maturity, currency, and structure
  • Broad investor base
  • Economical issuance costs
  • Standardized documentation


  • Highly dependent on market conditions, such as interest rates and liquidity
  • Exposure to credit risk of the issuer
  • Less liquidity as compared to other debt instruments

One of the advantages of EMTNs is that they offer a high degree of flexibility in terms of the maturity, currency, and structure of the debt instrument. This allows issuers to tailor their debt offerings to meet the specific needs of their investors, which can help to attract a broader investor base.

Another advantage of EMTNs is that they typically have lower issuance costs than other types of debt instruments, such as bonds. This is because EMTNs are often issued in large volumes, which can help to reduce the cost of issuing and distributing the debt.

Types of EMTNs and Their Features

EMTNs come in several flavors, depending on their features. The most common types of EMTNs include:

Fixed-rate EMTNs:

These notes have a fixed coupon rate, which is paid to investors at regular intervals until the maturity date.

Floating-rate EMTNs:

These notes have a variable interest rate, which is typically linked to a benchmark rate, such as the EURIBOR or LIBOR. The interest payment is adjusted accordingly.

Zero-coupon EMTNs:

These notes do not pay any interest during the life of the security. Instead, they are issued at a discount to their face value and redeemed at par upon maturity.

Callable EMTNs:

These notes can be redeemed before their maturity date if certain conditions specified in the prospectus are met. This feature allows the issuer to call back the notes if interest rates decline, thereby refinancing at a lower cost.

Puttable EMTNs:

These notes give the investor the right to sell the security back to the issuer at predetermined intervals at a specified price. This feature allows the investor to lock in a minimum yield and protect against adverse market conditions.

Structured EMTNs:

These notes are designed to provide investors with exposure to a specific asset class or market. They are typically linked to an underlying asset, such as a stock index, commodity, or currency. The return on the note is based on the performance of the underlying asset, and may be subject to caps or floors.

The Role of Issuers, Dealers, and Investors in EMTNs

EMTNs involve several key players, each with their role in the issuance and trading of the securities.


Issuers are typically large corporations, banks, or governments that seek to raise capital by issuing EMTNs. The issuer establishes an EMTN program and works with dealers to offer the notes to investors.


Dealers act as intermediaries between the issuer and investors. They market the EMTN program, price the notes, and sell them to investors. Dealers also provide liquidity to the secondary market by buying and selling EMTNs.


Investors can be institutional or individual, and they buy EMTNs for their portfolio. Investors typically seek a higher yield above the benchmark rate and are willing to assume the credit risk associated with the issuer.

It is important to note that EMTNs are typically issued in multiple currencies, allowing issuers to tap into a global investor base. This also means that investors can diversify their portfolio by investing in EMTNs denominated in different currencies. Additionally, EMTNs can have different maturities, ranging from a few months to several years, providing investors with flexibility in their investment strategy.

Benefits of Investing in EMTNs for Investors

Investing in EMTNs offers several benefits to investors, including:

  • Higher yield compared to traditional bank deposits
  • Diversification of the investment portfolio
  • Easy access to the secondary market, allowing for liquidity and flexibility
  • Tailoring the investment to meet specific needs, such as a certain maturity or risk level

Another benefit of investing in EMTNs is the potential for capital appreciation. As the value of the underlying assets of the EMTN increases, the value of the EMTN itself may also increase, resulting in a profit for the investor.

Additionally, investing in EMTNs can provide exposure to a variety of sectors and industries, including emerging markets. This can be particularly beneficial for investors looking to diversify their portfolio and take advantage of growth opportunities in different regions of the world.

Risks Involved in Investing in EMTNs

Like all investments, EMTNs carry certain risks. Some of the key risks involved in investing in EMTNs include:

  • Credit risk associated with the issuer
  • Liquidity risk due to the secondary market being less liquid than other debt instruments
  • Market risk due to fluctuations in interest rates, currency exchange rates, and other macroeconomic factors

Another risk to consider when investing in EMTNs is the possibility of default. If the issuer of the EMTN is unable to make payments on the bond, investors may not receive the full amount of their investment back. It is important to thoroughly research the issuer’s financial stability and creditworthiness before investing in their EMTNs.

EMTN Market Trends and Forecasting Future Performance

The EMTN market has seen significant growth in recent years, as more issuers turn to this funding tool. The market is expected to continue growing, particularly in emerging markets. However, the market is also influenced by certain trends and factors, such as:

  • Interest rates and macroeconomic conditions
  • Credit ratings of issuers
  • Investor demand for higher yields

It is also important to note that the performance of EMTNs can be forecasted using various tools and techniques, such as credit ratings and yield curves.

Another important factor that affects the performance of EMTNs is the geopolitical environment. Political instability, trade tensions, and other global events can have a significant impact on the market. For example, the Brexit vote in 2016 caused a sharp drop in the value of EMTNs issued by UK-based companies. Therefore, it is crucial for investors to stay informed about the latest geopolitical developments and their potential impact on the EMTN market.

Differences Between EMTNs and Other Debt Instruments

EMTNs differ from other debt instruments in several ways. For instance, EMTNs are typically issued in euro denomination, while other debt instruments can be issued in different currencies. EMTNs also have a standardized documentation format, making them more accessible and easier to trade. However, they also carry more credit risk than government bonds and have a lesser liquidity than other debt instruments.

Another key difference between EMTNs and other debt instruments is the flexibility they offer in terms of maturity dates. EMTNs can be issued with a range of maturity dates, from short-term to long-term, allowing issuers to tailor their debt offerings to their specific needs. Additionally, EMTNs often have a lower minimum investment requirement than other debt instruments, making them more accessible to a wider range of investors.

How to Invest in EMTNs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Investing in EMTNs is a straightforward process that involves the following steps:

  1. Identify a suitable EMTN program based on your investment needs.
  2. Find a dealer or broker that offers access to the EMTN market.
  3. Submit a purchase order with the dealer, specifying the note, issuer, and any other relevant details.
  4. Transfer the funds to the dealer or broker.
  5. Receive the EMTN in your investment portfolio.

Before investing in EMTNs, it is important to understand the risks involved. EMTNs are subject to credit risk, interest rate risk, and market risk. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer may default on the payment of interest or principal. Interest rate risk refers to the possibility that changes in interest rates may affect the value of the EMTN. Market risk refers to the possibility that changes in market conditions may affect the value of the EMTN.

It is also important to consider the fees associated with investing in EMTNs. Dealers and brokers may charge fees for their services, and there may be fees associated with the EMTN program itself. These fees can impact the overall return on your investment.

Key Factors to Consider Before Investing in EMTNs

Before investing in EMTNs, it is important to consider several key factors, such as:

  • The credit rating and financial stability of the issuer
  • The maturity and coupon rate of the EMTN
  • The liquidity and trading volume of the EMTN
  • The market trends and forecasted performance of the EMTN

Additionally, it is important to consider the currency in which the EMTN is denominated. Investing in EMTNs denominated in a foreign currency can expose investors to currency risk, which can impact the returns on the investment. It is also important to understand the tax implications of investing in EMTNs, as tax laws can vary depending on the jurisdiction of the issuer and the investor.

Analyzing Credit Ratings for Potential EMTN Investments

Credit ratings are an essential tool for analyzing the creditworthiness of an issuer and potential EMTN investment. Credit rating agencies, such as Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch, assess the risk associated with the issuer’s ability to meet their financial obligations.

It is important to note that credit ratings are not the only factor to consider when making EMTN investment decisions. Other factors, such as market conditions, economic trends, and the issuer’s financial performance, should also be taken into account. Additionally, it is important to regularly monitor the credit ratings of your EMTN investments to ensure that the issuer’s creditworthiness remains stable.

Understanding the Taxation Implications of Investing in EMTNs

The tax implications of investing in EMTNs vary depending on the investor’s country of residence and the issuer’s location. Generally, EMTNs are taxed as ordinary income, though certain exemptions or incentives may apply in certain cases.

It is important for investors to consult with a tax professional to fully understand the tax implications of investing in EMTNs. In some cases, investors may be subject to double taxation if the issuer is located in a different country than the investor’s residence. Additionally, some countries may have tax treaties in place that affect the taxation of EMTNs. It is crucial for investors to consider these factors before making any investment decisions.

Case Studies on Successful Use of EMTNs by Companies and Governments

Several companies and governments have successfully raised capital through EMTNs, including the International Finance Corporation, Siemens, and the European Investment Bank. These case studies offer insights into how EMTNs can be used effectively for fundraising purposes.

One notable example of a company that has successfully utilized EMTNs is Apple Inc. In 2013, the tech giant issued $17 billion in EMTNs, which at the time was the largest corporate bond sale in history. The issuance was oversubscribed, indicating strong demand from investors. Apple used the funds to finance share buybacks and dividend payments.

In addition to companies, several governments have also turned to EMTNs to raise capital. For instance, in 2018, the Republic of Indonesia issued $3 billion in EMTNs, which was the largest ever issuance by an Asian sovereign. The issuance was well-received by investors, with orders exceeding $21 billion. The funds were used to finance infrastructure projects and support economic growth.

Future Prospects for the Growth of the EMTN Market

The future of the EMTN market looks promising, with increasing demand from both issuers and investors. The market is expected to grow further, particularly in emerging markets, where access to capital is a key driver for economic growth.

EMTNs offer a flexible and efficient means of raising capital for issuers and a diversified investment option for investors. However, investing in EMTNs carries certain risks, such as credit and liquidity risks. Before investing in EMTNs, it is important to consider several key factors, such as the credit rating and financial stability of the issuer, the maturity and coupon rate of the EMTN, and the liquidity and trading volume of the EMTN. With careful consideration, however, EMTNs can be a valuable addition to an investment portfolio.

One factor that may contribute to the growth of the EMTN market is the increasing interest in sustainable finance. EMTNs can be used to finance projects that promote environmental and social sustainability, such as renewable energy projects or affordable housing initiatives. As investors become more conscious of the impact of their investments, the demand for sustainable EMTNs may increase, providing a new avenue for issuers to raise capital and investors to support socially responsible projects.

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