Issuers in New Jersey and Ohio will bring two separate billion-dollar deals to the primary market this week amid over $9 billion of anticipated new issuance.
According to The Bond Buyer and Ipreo LLC, an estimated $9.19 billion is expected to be priced this week, compared with a revised $5.89 billion that made its way to market last week, according to Thomson Reuters.
On the heels of steady gains last week evidenced by strong demand for new volume in the primary, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will try to take advantage of the market’s momentum when it issues $2.2 billion of school facility construction refunding bonds and notes on Wednesday.
While the maturity structure was still being finalized at press time by book-runner Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the deal will come as three series, the largest of which is $1.64 billion of Series NN tax-exempt bonds. There will be also be $380 million of Securities Industry Financial Markets Association index notes, as well as $188.86 million of Series OO taxable bonds.
The bonds are expected to be rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service, and A-plus by Standard & Poor’s.
At the same time, the JobsOhio Beverage System is planning to sell a two-pronged offering of statewide senior-lien liquor profit revenue bonds totaling around $1.5 billion.
The majority of the deal includes $1.1 billion of taxable revenue bonds slated to be priced by JPMorgan Thursday with a structure that includes serial bonds maturing from 2015 to 2023 and term bonds in 2029 and 2035.
Citi will price a $423 million tax-exempt series Wednesday, structured to mature serially from 2015 to 2023 with a term bond in 2038. Both JobsOhio series are rated A2 by Moody’s and AA by Standard & Poor’s.
Judging by the warm reception for new paper last week, this week’s two largest deals should meet with equally strong demand as long as they are priced right, according to municipal experts. Coinciding with last week’s strong demand in the primary, bonds traded higher last Thursday in the secondary market, traders noted.
The generic, triple-A general obligation scale in 2043 ended at a 2.72% last Thursday, after dipping as low as 2.69% on Wednesday, and beginning the week at a 2.74% last Monday, according to Municipal Market Data.
“Inspiring the buying was the insatiable demand for primary deals,” wrote Randy Smolik in his daily MMD commentary on Wednesday. “Correspondingly, the street would bid customer secondary blocks more aggressively as well as the competitive primary. The muni secondary continued to firm and quality spreads continued to narrow.”
Overall, Smolik said higher federal tax rates and a building momentum for higher state income taxes has drawn more attention to the tax-exempt market.
“Every major negotiated sale was able to trim yields in many maturities,” he said, pointing to the $500 million New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority transportation revenue sale led by Citi that was reportedly four times oversubscribed. Most of the maturities were bumped five basis points from the preliminary offering, and the final maturity in 2043 with a 5% coupon ended up at a 3.32% yield.
This week, the Adventist Health System/West will enter the market with a two-pronged deal totaling $334 million being issued by the California Health Facilities Financing Authority.
The larger portion of the financing consists of $284.6 million of tax-exempt health care facilities revenue bonds maturing serially from 2015 to 2028 with term bonds in 2033 and 2043.
The $50 million taxable portion consists of a bullet maturity due in 2023. Both series are rated A by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
Book-runner Wells Fargo Securities will offer the bonds to retail investors on Wednesday, followed by an official pricing for institutions on Thursday.
In other activity, the Houston Independent School District is gearing up to issue $301.47 million of limited-tax bonds in a two-pronged offering being priced by JPMorgan on Wednesday.
The offering is comprised of $204.2 million of schoolhouse and refunding bonds in Series 2013A, which is backed by Texas’ triple-A-rated Permanent School Fund guaranty, and $97.24 million of refunding bonds in Series 2013C, which are not PSF-guaranteed and are rated AAA by Moody’s and AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s.
A $250 million sale of state highway improvement fund revenue bonds is being planned by the Louisiana Bond Commission. Citi will price the deal, which has a serial structure maturing from 2014 to 2033, on Wednesday.
The bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody’s and AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.
Switching gears to the competitive market, Washington will add to the brisk activity when it issues more than $1 million of GO debt on Wednesday.
The sale consists of four auctions, for series of bonds: $323 million of motor vehicle fuel-tax bonds maturing from 2014 to 2043; $550 million of GO refunding bonds maturing from 2013 to 2030; $125 million of GO refunding bonds maturing from 2018 to 2030, and $230 million of various-purpose GO debt maturing from 2014 to 2038.
Montague DeRose and Associates LLC and Seattle-Northwest Securities are financial advisors.