State treasurer Nancy Kopp

WASHINGTON — Triple-A rated Maryland later this month will sell about $900 million of general obligation bonds, including up to $100 million of them during its first retail order period since August 2012.

The retail period will be held on July 18 and 21.

On July 23, the state will have two competitive sales. One will be for $400 million of tax-exempt bonds plus any bonds that were offered during the retail period but didn't sell then. The other will be for about $400 million of tax-exempt refunding bonds. Institutions are expected to win the competitive bids, officials in Maryland state treasurer's office said.

Maryland hasn't had a retail offering since 2012 because there was little demand due to low interest rates. But other states have had retail periods recently, which may indicate that there is appetite for retail purchases, said Susanne Brogan, Maryland deputy treasurer for public policy.

Retail orders are orders placed on behalf of individuals, bank trust departments or investment advisors, and up to $1 million of bonds can be ordered per account. Professionally managed retail accounts are considered to be valid retail investors, Brogan said. Orders from Maryland citizens will get first priority.

"Marylanders get first preference in buying highly desirable, conservative quality bonds while investing in their state — a win-win situation," state treasurer Nancy Kopp said in a treasurer's office news release.

The proceeds of the tax-exempt bonds will be used to finance capital projects such as educational facilities and hospitals.

The proceeds from the sale of the tax-exempt refunding bonds will be used to pay off bonds previously issued. Maryland is considering advance refunding maturities of bonds issued from 2007 to 2013, according to an event notice posted on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's EMMA system late last month. The preliminary official statement said that the state will sell $379.75 million of refunding bonds, though that number is subject to change.

All three major rating agencies have reaffirmed Maryland's triple-A rating ahead of the sale. Maryland has held that rating since 1961 from Standard and Poor's, 1973 from Moody's Investors Service and 1993 from Fitch Ratings, according to the release from the treasurer's office.

The Maryland Board of Public Works — which consists of Kopp, Governor Martin O'Malley, and Comptroller Peter Franchot — will oversee the competitive sales in the Goldstein Treasury Building in Annapolis.

Maryland last had a competitive GO bond sale in March and typically has these types of sales twice a year. The state treasurer's office said it expects to have another sale in February or March 2015.

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