WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority plans to price $445 million of tax-exempt public utility revenue bonds Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of a $3.8 billion plan to improve water and sewer infrastructure, according to a preliminary official statement.
Three series will be priced, said Olu Adebo, chief financial officer at the agency, which is also known as DC Water. Series A and B, totaling $275 million, will be new money, while proceeds from the $170 million Series C will advance refund all or part of the authority’s outstanding 2003 revenue bonds, Adebo said.
All the issues are negotiated. The authority, created by federal law in 1996, has never held a competitive sale. “We’re still relatively new on the bond market,” Adebo said.
Standard & Poor’s assigned the bonds a AA rating, and the proposed debt carries a AA-minus from Fitch Ratings. Both agencies have a stable outlook.
Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. is senior underwriter on the Series A and C bonds, while JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are each lead underwriters on either the B-1 or B-2 Subseries bonds.
Squire Sanders and Leftwich & Ludaway are co-bond counsel.
A retail order period will be held on Tuesday, while an institutional order period will be Wednesday, another authority official said.
During the retail order period, first priority will be given to retail investors with a District of Columbia ZIP code. The issuer’s definition of retail investors includes both individuals and bank trusts, investment advisors, and money managers acting on behalf of an individual with a maximum of $1 million per order. Orders exceeding $1 million will be subject to approval by the authority, the financial advisors and the senior manager, a DC Water official said.
The authority plans to issue more than $200 million each year through 2017 as part of its ongoing 10-year, $3.8 billion plan to upgrade and maintain existing water and sewer infrastructure, especially the 150-acre Blue Plains Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, according to materials produced for potential investors of the bonds. The Washington Aqueduct and sanitary sewer system will receive most of the money not siphoned off to the Blue Plains facility, according to the investment materials.
DC Water serves millions of annual visitors to the nation’s capitol, as well as more than two million residents of the city and Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.
The expected closing date for the Series 2012 bonds is March 22, the authority official said.