SAN FRANCISCO - California has announced underwriting teams for the bond sales expected to follow this month's multibillion-dollar revenue anticipation note deal.
The state plans to sell up to $10.5 billion of Rans the week of Sept. 21.
After that, the state expects to market general obligation bonds this fall, and also named teams to sell bonds for the Public Works Board and to restructure California's outstanding economic recovery bonds.
"We're hoping to be back in the general obligation bond market before Thanksgiving," said Tom Dresslar, spokesman for Treasurer Bill Lockyer.
"We don't have any set plans yet," he said. "We're focused right now on getting through the cash-flow borrowing and then we'll focus on other matters."
JPMorgan will run the books on the Ran sale, which will price Sept. 23 after a two-day retail order period.
The treasurer's office would like to reduce the size of the transaction to $7.8 billion, which would require lawmakers to enact measures to defer a variety of payments before their session ends Sept. 11.
"In our discussions with [legislative] leadership, staff indicated that prompt passage of the payment deferral legislation should not be a problem," Dresslar said. "The sooner those measures are enacted the better."
The note sale will be marketed heavily to retail investors, through the treasurer's www.buycaliforniabonds.com Web site, and a "full-fledged advertising campaign," Dresslar said.
A similar marketing campaign last October helped California sell $5 billion of Rans with retail taking almost $4 billion.
That deal came in a crisis atmosphere, amid fears that the markets had seized up entirely in the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Yields between 3.75% and 4.25% helped get that deal done.
These days, the headlines from the markets and the state aren't as spooky for investors, noted Kenneth Naehu, a managing director at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles. The big unanswered question with the California note sale is the ratings, he said.
Questions remain over the state's ability to keep its budget in balance during the current fiscal year, when the Rans will be redeemed.
Short-term ratings below the top tier will keep money market funds out of the deal. In that case, "the bar has to be set to attract individual investors and those like me who invest on behalf of individual investors," Naehu said.
"They're going to have to come at a decently attractive level," he said. "When you're doing a large issue like this, you do not want to not have it over-allocated; you don't want to risk selling $10 billion and getting $6 billion in orders. That would not go over well."
In addition to JPMorgan, 34 other banks have been named to the Ran team.
For the state's next GO issues, the treasurer's office appointed Citi and Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch as joint book-runners for tax-exempt bonds and Goldman, Sachs & Co. and JPMorgan as book-runners for taxable bonds.
Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets were named as joint book-runners for Public Works Board bonds, and Barclays Capital and Citi were named as joint book-runners for the restructuring of the state's economic recovery bonds.
The state sold ERBs in 2004 and 2008 to clean up after an earlier budget crisis, and they were backed by a dedicated quarter-cent sales tax, as well as the state's GO pledge.
Plummeting taxable sales forced California to dip into the bonds' reserve funds to make principal payments, and in a June material events notice, the treasurer's office said it planned to restructure the ERBs. There were $8.2 billion of the bonds outstanding as of Aug. 1, according to the treasurer's office.