The Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority won The Bond Buyer's 2008 Deal of the Year award, presented last night, for its $384 million capital fund program subordinate bonds that raised money to help finance modernization of more than 4,000 units of public housing.
"We felt that the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority, by utilizing the new non-AMT housing bond program, along with low-income housing tax credits to help rebuild thousands of housing units, in a deal that will also serve to create construction jobs, was this year's example of the best that public finance can accomplish," said Amy B. Resnick, editor in chief of The Bond Buyer, who presented the award.
The 2008 awards, which considered deals that closed between Oct. 1, 2007, and Sept. 30, 2008, drew more than 60 nominations for transactions ranging in size from several billion dollars to just a few million.
The awards program, held downtown at the New York Academy of Sciences, also raised $10,000 for the Citymeals on Wheels program that provides meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers.
Finalists were selected from each region of the U.S. as covered by the paper in categories for both large and a small issuers determined by gross revenues of the issuer or the entity financed in its most recent fiscal year. Small deals are those completed by issuers with annual revenues of $70 million or less, or beneficiaries with those revenue levels in the case of conduit deals.
Large deals were those with revenues above $70 million. All the finalists were in the running for the overall Deal of the Year award.
The entries were evaluated by The Bond Buyer's editors and bureau chiefs, who looked for innovation, risk taking, financial complexity, the ability for a deal to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which the transaction's proceeds were used.
The newspaper also presented its award for innovative, nontraditional public finance transactions, which was open to deals that did not use traditional municipal securities. The award reflects the growth of this nontraditional sector.
The other winners this year were:
The North Texas Tollway Authority for its State Highway 121 Project, including $3.85 billion of notes and $4.64 billion of taxable and tax-exempt bonds, that financed a public-public partnership to pay for a 26-mile highway extension project.
The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority for the $233.4 million pass-through toll transportation revenue bonds to finance accelerated expansion of a road to the area around Fort Bliss.
The Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Financing Authority for its $5.53 billion tobacco settlement bonds that enabled Ohio to accelerate $2.2 billion of school facility funding plans and provide $2.9 billion for property tax relief.
The Mississsippi Development Bank for the $114 million of special obligation bonds issued for the Jackson Public School District Project that provided funding for capital improvements to existing schools and site acquisition for future schools.
The Panama City-Bay County Airport and Industrial District for up to $80 million of commercial paper notes to build a new commercial, international airport.
Oxnard for the $27.7 million gas tax certificates of participation that securitized the city's share of California gas taxes to fund road improvement projects.
The Yuba Levee Financing Authority for its $64.2 million of tax-exempt revenue bonds and its $14.2 million of taxable revenue bonds to fund part of the cost of the Feather River Setback levee improvement project for flood protection.
In the nontraditional financing category, the paper recognized the Capital Beltway Funding Corp. of Virginia for its $589 million senior-lien multi-modal toll revenue bonds for the Interstate 495 high-occupancy toll lanes project.