CHICAGO — The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is expected to vote Thursday on an underwriting team, led by JPMorgan, for its sale next month of up to $500 million of mostly taxable Build America Bonds.
A group of five officials from the district’s treasury, finance, law, and procurement sections, who were charged with reviewing the first request-for-proposals process for underwriters, is recommending JPMorgan to run the books on the deal and Citi for the co-senior manager position.
Another seven firms — a mix of local, regional, national, and minority- and women-owned firms — round out the syndicate: Barclays Capital Inc., Duncan-Williams Inc., Loop Capital Markets LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., and William Blair & Co.
Fees are limited to $1.9 million under the bond purchase agreement submitted to the district board.
The water district reported that it contacted 146 firms about submitting proposals during the selection process and another 46 requested proposal documents. The district received 29 “acceptable” proposals by the Oct. 22 deadline.
The firms were ranked for technical approach and competence, experience in public finance and in the underwriting and sale of general obligation bonds, financial capacity to underwrite bonds, and cost of services.
On the upcoming sale, JPMorgan and Citi were selected based on their high overall ranking and lower final prices.
The co-managers were selected based on their technical competence and experience, ability to meet the district’s requirements for regional sales representation, and to meet a 30% goal for minority and women-owned participation.
The agency named 13 firms to a pool of qualified senior managers to pick from over a three-year term and those firms and an additional seven to a pool of qualified co-managers. All of the firms scored at least 70% on their technical qualifications.
The district’s board previously selected Public Financial Management Inc. and Gardner, Underwood & Bacon LLC as co-financial advisers.
Proceeds of the sale would help finance the triple-A rated water reclamation district’s long-term capital program of more than $2.5 billion
Market participants have been following the district’s selection process as the pricing of its $600 million BAB sale in August 2009 has come under scrutiny due to profit-taking that occurred during initial secondary-market trading.
The deal is the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry and an Internal Revenue Service examination. The district responded to SEC questions in June and is in the process of responding to the IRS.
The district used A.C. Advisory Inc. and Scott Balice Strategies as advisers on the 2009 sale. Mesirow Financial Inc. was senior manager and Loop Capital Markets LLC was co-senior. Both broker-dealers made the list of qualified senior managers.
The district’s capital program includes plant expansions and improvements, sewer upgrades, bio-solids management projects, and deep-tunnel related projects.
All three major rating agencies last year affirmed the agency’s top marks on $1.4 billion of outstanding debt.