Massachusetts on Wednesday announced plans beginning this week to issue its final fiscal 2010 new-money general obligation bond offering, $250 million of tax-exempts geared toward retail investors.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the book-runner, will hold two days of retail pricing on Friday and Monday with institutional pricing set for Tuesday if necessary, according to Colin MacNaught, the state’s assistant treasurer for debt management.
The Series 2010B bonds include serial maturities from 2011 through 2020, according to the preliminary official statement.
McCarter & English LLP is bond counsel. There is no outside financial adviser.
Massachusetts is focusing on retail for the Series 2010B bonds, as its earlier debt sales were structured to attract institutional investors in the middle and longer ends of the curve, MacNaught said.
Massachusetts sold $956.4 million of taxable Build America Bonds in December.
That taxable deal was comprised of two term bonds due in 2030 and 2039, with no serial maturities.
The state subsequently issued $450 million of BABs in May via competitive bid. The sale included serial maturities from 2024 through 2029, with a term bond in 2029.
“Given how long our previous taxable BABs transactions were structured, we structured this transaction much shorter, which we think is where a lot of retail demand remains in the tax-exempt market,” MacNaught said.
Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings rate the Series 2010B bonds Aa1 and AA-plus, respectively. Standard & Poor’s assigns its AA rating to the deal.
The commonwealth has more than $17 billion of outstanding GO debt, according to Moody’s.
The Series 2010B bonds will bring the state’s debt issuance in fiscal 2010 to $1.65 billion. Officials anticipate selling slightly less debt, $1.62 billion, in fiscal 2011.
One of the credit strengths for Massachusetts is the government’s ability to pass on-time operating budgets even when the state must impose spending cuts and increase revenue.
“Massachusetts has generally reacted quickly to identify and correct emerging gaps, using a variety of measures including spending down reserves, revenue increases, expenditure cuts, and use of federal stimulus and other one-time balancing measures,” according to a Moody’s report.
Lawmakers are considering a potential $300 million restructuring deal of commonwealth debt that would reduce fiscal 2011 debt service costs by moving those expenses to later years.