Triple-A Delaware will sell $345.1 million of tax-exempt general obligation debt today, ahead of its first-ever Build America Bond issue set for Oct. 14 via competitive bid.
Officials moved up the bond deal from Oct. 22 to take advantage of a stronger municipal market. The two transactions will enable the state to take advantage of refunding opportunities and utilize the taxable BAB program, which gives issuers a federal subsidy of 35%. By law, Delaware must sell its new-money debt through a competitive process, while it can issue refinancing bonds through negotiated sales.
Morgan Stanley will price the tax-exempt portion. Saul Ewing LLP is bond counsel on the transactions. Public Financial Management Inc. is financial adviser.
Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and Standard & Poor’s all rate the transaction triple-A. Delaware has $1.5 billion of outstanding GO debt.
Series 2009C for $345.1 million includes $40 million of new money, with the remaining $305 million refunding prior debt. The bonds mature serially from 2011 through 2024.
Delaware could gain as much as $15 million of refunding savings, depending upon market conditions, said Stephanie Scola, the state’s director of bond finance.
Refunding candidates include all or portions of Series 1999A, Series 2001A, Series 2002A, Series 2003A, Series 2003C, Series 2005D, Series 2006A, Series 2006B, Series 2007A, Series 2008A, and Series 2008B, according to the preliminary official statement.
The sale includes both advance and current refundings, with the state looking to avoid negative arbitrage.
“We’re going to take advantage of SLGS [state and local government series securities] and we’re also looking at open-market purchases,” Scola said.
Of the taxable BABs, $9.4 million will mature in 2016 followed by yearly maturities of $12.3 million through 2029. Delaware does not issue debt beyond 20 years.
“The economics pointed to a better cost of capital on the longer end of the yield curve rather than the shorter end,” Scola said. “So taxable less 35% subsidy in years seven or eight through 20 is going to be better for us than the equivalent tax-exempt maturity.”
New-money proceeds will help finance capital projects, with the majority of funds supporting school construction. Delaware tends to issue $175 million to $225 million of new-money debt every 10 to 12 months.