Nominations this year included deals to finance transportation, health care facilities, highways and toll toads, sewer projects, airports, bridges, hydroelectric and alternative energy projects, convention centers and more. This year’s finalists represent some of the country’s most innovative municipal bond issues, all executed in a period of great economic uncertainty and financial market volatility.
The 2011 awards, which considered deals that closed between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2011, drew 80 nominations for transactions ranging in size from $5 million to several billion dollars.
One finalist was selected from each region as covered by The Bond Buyer. This year, one issue was recognized as our winner in the small issuer category. Small deals are those completed by issuers with annual revenue of $70 million or less, or beneficiaries with those revenue levels. Non-profit and public health care transactions had their own category this year as well.
All the regional finalists are in the running for the Deal of the Year Award, which will be announced Dec. 8 at a ceremony at the Essex House hotel in New York City.
The entries were evaluated by The Bond Buyer’s editors and bureau chiefs, who looked for innovation, efforts by government issuers to accomplish their goals in challenging times, the ability for a deal to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which a transaction’s proceeds were used.
The Bond Buyer also selected a winner for its award for nontraditional public finance transactions, which was open to deals that did not use traditional municipal securities. The award, which was presented for the first time in 2006, reflects the growth of this nontraditional sector.
The regional finalists are:
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts for its billion-dollar accelerated bridge program.
The Love Field Modernization Corp.’s $310 million of special facilities revenue bonds.
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority’s $1.1 billion of McCormick Place Expansion Project bonds.
The City of Atlanta Department of Aviation’s $1.5 billion refunding deal.
The State of Washington’s $89 million motor vehicle fuel tax general obligation bonds.
The winner in the small issue category is the City of Ecorse, Mich.’s $9.5 million of financial recovery bonds.
The winner in the health care sector is Adventist Health System (Florida) for its $1.75 billion credit facility restructuring and $665 million bond restructuring.
The winning nontraditional financing is the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts’ Long Beach Court Building Project.
This year’s ceremony also will see the presentation of the inaugural Freda Johnson Award honoring Trailblazing Women Issuers. This year’s honoree is Connecticut Treasurer Denise Nappier.