With the end of 2008 just a few weeks away and 30-day visible supply hovering around $17 billion, only a handful of issuers are expected to make their way to the primary market this week.
A $600 million revenue offering from the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority is expected to headline a trio of sizable deals in the Northeast and kick off the new-issue activity as part of an estimated $6.39 billion in volume expected this week, up from last week's revised $3.59 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
The financing, which is being sold on behalf of Harvard University, will be offered to retail investors on Wednesday, followed by an official pricing for institutions on Thursday by a syndicate led by book-runner JPMorgan.
The Series 2009 A bonds are tentatively structured to mature serially from 2014 to 2023, and will include term bonds. However, the structure of those maturities was still being finalized at press time last week, according to an underwriting source at JPMorgan.
The Harvard bonds have natural triple-A ratings from Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's.In addition, a $425 million sale of grant and revenue anticipation bonds from the Maryland Transportation Authority is expected to arrive on Thursday when Merrill Lynch & Co. prices it after a retail order period Wednesday. The bonds are rated Aa2 by Moody's, AAA by Standard & Poor's, and AA by Fitch Ratings. They are expected to mature from 2011 to 2021.
Elsewhere in the Northeast, New York City will continue the second of a two-day retail order period that began last Friday for its $308 million of general obligation debt. JPMorgan will officially price the two-pronged deal tomorrow with a structure that consists of $300 million of tax-exempt GOs and $8 million of taxable GOs - both series of which are tentatively structured to mature serially from 2010 to 2028, with term bonds in 2031 and 2035.
New York City's outstanding GO debt is rated Aa3 by Moody's, AA by Standard & Poor's, and AA-minus by Fitch. The proceeds will be used for various capital improvement purposes.
Last week, the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority sold $325.5 million of water and sewer system second general resolution revenue bonds that had similar ratings to the city's GOs, and was heavily weighted on the long end. Merrill priced the final maturity in 2040 with a 6% coupon and 6.125% yield last Thursday when the generic, triple-A GO bond due in 2038 was yielding 5.55%, according to Municipal Market Data.
Switching gears to the Southwest, the University of Texas Board of Regents is preparing to issue $252 million of system revenue bonds tomorrow. A syndicate led by senior manager Morgan Stanley will price the deal for institutions following today's retail order period.
The Series 2008 A bonds are expected to carry natural triple-A ratings from all three major rating agencies, although the structure of the deal was not available at press time.
In the short-term market, Illinois will competitively sell $1.4 billion of GO cash-flow certificates on Thursday, receiving bids until 11 A.M. Central Time via Ipreo's Parity. The notes mature in three tranches in 2009 - $400 million on April 24, $600 million on May 25, and the last $400 million on June 24. Facing a backlog of $4 billion in unpaid bills, the state will use proceeds to speed up payments.
Also in the Midwest, Chicago tomorrow will price $590 million of new-money and refunding GOs in three series, one for $327 million, another for $60 million, and a third taxable chucnk for $204 million. Willaim Blair & Co. is senior manager.
The Illinois Finance Authority will serve as the conduit issuer for $235 million of revenue bonds on behalf of Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, one of the country's leading teaching hospitals.
The deal, which is being underwritten and priced by JPMorgan tomorrow, is structured to include serial bonds maturing from 2009 to 2018, and term bonds maturing in 2023, 2028, 2033, and 2038. They're rated Aa2 by Moody's and AA-plus by Standard & Poor's.
In the competitive market, meanwhile, $350 million of GOs from Miami-Dade County are expected to be bid on Thursday, with proceeds being used for 260 new and ongoing projects that are part of the county's Building Better Communities initiative.
The bonds have underlying ratings of Aa3 from Moody's and AA-minus from Standard & Poor's and the deal is structured to mature from 2009 to 2038. It is the third installment under the November 2004 voter-approved, $2.92 billion GO authorization, which calls for improvements to water and sewer systems, parks, bridges, infrastructure, neighborhoods, health care facilities, public services, housing, and cultural and educational institutions.
Pennsylvania will make an appearance in the competitive market tomorrow with a $300 million GO sale - half its original size as a result of state officials' decision last week to downsize the deal based on market conditions.
The two-pronged deal includes $575 million to finance capital facilities projects, such as public buildings, redevelopment, and transportation, and $25 million to finance environmental protection, and open space and farmland preservation under the state's Growing Greener II project.
Bonds are structured to mature serially from 2010 to 2029, and the state's outstanding GO debt is rated Aa2 by Moody's and AA by Standard & Poor's and Fitch.
Meanwhile, sporting an upgrade from Moody's to Aa2 from Aa3 and a stable outlook, Seattle is planning to sell $257.7 million of senior-lien electric revenue and refunding bonds in the competitive market on Wednesday.
Moody's issued the upgrade late last week in advance of the Series 2008 municipal light and power improvement and refunding revenue bond deal due to the improved financial footing of Seattle City Light, including its strong risk management program and conservation budgeting, limitations on wholesale energy market exposure, and the continued maintenance of competitive retail rates, among other key factors.
The bonds, which are secured by the net revenues of the SCL electric system and also have a AA-minus from Standard & Poor's, are expected to mature from 2009 to 2034. A total of $71.9 million will refund all or a portion of the city's outstanding auction-rate subordinate-lien revenue bonds, including those in Series 1990 scheduled to mature in 2015, Series 1991A maturing in 2016, Series 1991B maturing in 2011, Series 1993 maturing in 2018, and Series 1996 maturing in 2021, according to the preliminary official statement.
The new-money proceeds will be used to finance capital improvements and conservation projects.