ALAMEDA, Calif. — Two rating agencies delivered a split verdict Monday on California’s upcoming sale of $10 billion of revenue anticipation notes.
Standard & Poor’s assigned its SP-1 rating to the deal, placing the debt in its top tier for municipal short-term ratings, but Fitch Ratings assigned an F2.
According to Fitch’s definition, that means “good short-term credit quality” instead of the “highest” credit quality attributed to its F1 tier.
“Despite repeatedly rebalancing its budget over the last three fiscal years in response to revenue underperformance, achieving balance has been complicated by the state’s long-standing structural budget imbalance, institutional obstacles to addressing budget and cash challenges, and a contentious political environment,” the Fitch news release said.
Standard & Poor’s put the notes in its highest tier for short-term municipal ratings.
“The SP-1 rating reflects our view that the state has a strong capacity to retire its obligation related to the Rans at their maturity, scheduled for June 2011,” the rating report said.
The state did not adopt its budget until well into October, 100 days after the fiscal year started.
That helped create a cash crunch partly alleviated Oct. 26 when the state Treasurer’s Office closed a privately placed $6.7 billion bridge financing with six financial institutions. The bridge loan gave the treasurer’s office time to put together the public Ran sale.
Pricing is expected next week. JPMorgan is senior manager.
California sold $8.8 billion of Rans in September 2009, also with an F2 rating from Fitch, and paid a top 1.5% annualized interest rate.
Fitch on Monday affirmed its A-minus long-term rating and stable outlook on California general obligation bonds.