After digesting a revised $7.67 billion in new volume last week, the municipal market will face an estimated $9.59 billion this week, according to Ipreo LLC and The Bond Buyer, as the California market again takes center stage — this time with a $1.5 billion sale of general obligation bonds catering to retail investors.
Following the recent deluge of Build America Bonds in the long California market, the GO sale should satisfy the retail crowd's craving for traditional, plain-vanilla state paper beyond 20 years, according to Chris Tota, director of trading and sales at book-runner E.J. De La Rosa & Co. in Los Angeles.
"Being that BABs have taken over the longer end of the market, there has been a reduced amount of long tax-exempt paper" in the local market, he explained. "Retail is not the typical buyer of BABs, especially in the 30-year range, so we expect strong retail performance, which means there is usually a strong follow-through by the mutual funds," Tota added.
De La Rosa plans to offer the bonds to individual investors during a one-day retail order period tomorrow, followed by an official pricing for institutions on Wednesday. The new-money bonds are structured to mature from 2032 to 2039 and will finance various capital improvement projects within the state, Tota said. California's GO debt is currently rated Baa1 by Moody's Investors Service, A by Standard & Poor's, and BBB by Fitch Ratings.
The issue will arrive on the heels of two mammoth $1 billion-plus California offerings that dominated market activity last week. The state itself sold $3.4 billion of economic recovery refunding bonds, which were priced with a bifurcated 2023 maturity that carried coupons of 4.75% and 5% that yielded 4.85% and 3.37%, respectively. In addition, the Bay Area Toll Authority sold $1.3 billion of revenue debt, its first-ever BAB sale, with a final maturity in 2049 priced at par to yield 6.26%.
Tota said the recent brisk demand for California tax-exempt GOs in the secondary market indicates that retail investors should be eager to snap up the new GOs in the primary market this week.
The state's last GO sale was a $6.5 billion deal in early October that offered a series of tax-exempt bonds, but only between six and 20 years, Tota pointed out. The remaining two series were comprised of traditional taxable debt on the short and intermediate range and BABs in 30 years.
The last time California sold a non-BAB GO financing was in late March, when it issued $6.5 billion of tax-exempt bonds structured to mature between 2013 and 2038, which was priced with a 6% coupon to yield 6.10%.
The generic triple-A GO scale in 2038 offered a 4.22% yield at the close of trading on Friday, according to Municipal Market Data.
In other sizable activity this week, Goldman, Sachs & Co. will bring a $700 million Georgia GO sale structured with a majority of taxable BABs.
Rated natural triple-A by all three major rating agencies, the Georgia GOs will consist of four series of bonds — portions of which will be priced on two separate days.
The tax-exempt series, consisting of $85.4 million in Series 2009 F maturing from 2010 to 2014, $114.5 million in Series 2009 G maturing from 2010 to 2029, and $100 million in the Series 2009 I refunding maturing from 2010 to 2023 will be priced tomorrow, after a one-day retail order period today. The $400 million taxable, direct-pay BAB Series 2009 H — which is structured to mature from 2010 to 2029 — will price on Wednesday.
Back in California, the San Francisco Airport Commission will issue $550 million of revenue bonds on behalf of San Francisco International Airport. Citi will price the negotiated deal on Thursday, following a retail order period planned for Wednesday.
Structured with serial bonds maturing from 2020 to 2029 and terms bonds in 2034 and 2039, the bonds are expected to be rated A1 by Moody's, A by Standard & Poor's, and A-plus by Fitch.
Meanwhile, a trio of sizable negotiated deals is expected to enter the Northeast, the largest of which will be $400 million of revenue BABs from Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Financing Authority. The deal is planned for pricing on Wednesday by Morgan Stanley. Details about the structure were not available at press time. The issue is expected to be rated A1 by Moody's, and AA-minus by Standard & Poor's and Fitch.
The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is gearing up to issue $398.1 million of revenue debt on behalf of New York University. Morgan Stanley is set to price the bonds on Wednesday with tentative maturities out to 40 years, but the details about the structure were still being hammered out at press time. The bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody's and AA-minus by Standard & Poor's.
The Northeast activity continues with $310 million of revenue refunding bonds from the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority. Morgan Stanley is expected to price the offering on Wednesday on behalf of Suffolk University. Details about the structure were not available at press time.
Elsewhere, Puerto Rico will enter the market tomorrow with $350 million of public improvement GO refunding bonds being senior managed and priced by Morgan Stanley with a serial and term maturity structure. Details had not been finalized by press time. The bonds are rated Baa3 by Moody's and BBB-minus by Standard & Poor's.
Switching gears to the competitive market, the only sizable deal planned this week is a $387.3 million offering of consolidated public improvement bonds from Montgomery County, Md.
Slated for pricing tomorrow, the bonds are structured as $78 million of tax-exempt, new-money debt maturing from 2010 to 2029 and $77.3 million of tax-exempt refunding debt maturing from 2010 to 2020 — both in Series 2009 A — and $232 million of taxable debt in Series 2009 B, which is slated to mature from 2010 to 2029, according to the preliminary official statement.
The proceeds of Series A will refinance all or a portion of the county's outstanding commercial paper bond anticipation notes and certain outstanding consolidated public improvement bonds, while proceeds from Series B will refund outstanding notes and commercial paper Bans.