DALLAS – Aurora, Colo., reported savings of 12.9% or $68.6 million on a $437 million refunding of city water debt that was pitched as a green bond sale.
The July 21 deal was the largest from Colorado so far this year.
"The market's positive response to this bond sale is proof that Aurora is well positioned to meet the future needs of our community," Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said in a statement.
The bonds carried ratings of AA-plus from both Fitch and S&P Global Ratings with stable outlooks.
"The rating reflects, in our opinion, the combination of a very strong enterprise risk profile and an extremely strong financial risk profile," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst John Schulz.
Fitch cited Aurora Water's solid financial profile, the reduction of debt, the affordability of service and strong long-term planning. Fitch also highlighted the revenue opportunities that the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency Partnership, Aurora's cooperative venture with Denver Water and the South Metro Water Supply Authority, will provide.
WISE will provide excess water, when available, to several communities in the south metro Denver area that are currently dependent on non-renewable groundwater. Limited WISE deliveries are expected to begin in late 2016, with full deliveries expected by 2021.
Aurora officials called the deal the largest sale of green bonds for a water utility in the nation. The Prairie Waters Project, completed in 2010 at a cost of $637 million, is seen by many as a model for environmental sustainability in the arid west.
The project recaptures water that Aurora already owns in the South Platte River and makes full use of Aurora's mountain and agricultural water rights, increasing the city's water supply by up to 12 million gallons per day.
The bonds priced through negotiation with book-running senior manager Morgan Stanley, co-senior RBC Capital Markets, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch & Co., and Wells Fargo Securities as co-managers.