Puerto Rico will refund prior Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority debt next week before heading to market with a combined new-money and refunding sales-tax bond deal.
Citi will price the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corp. transaction in the third week of June, according to Fernando Batlle, executive vice president of financing and treasury at the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico. The GDB is the commonwealth’s fiscal agent.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo & Co. are co-senior managers on the deal.
Batlle said officials are still working on sizing the sales-tax deal, which will include both new-money and refunding bonds. Puerto Rico’s sales-tax bonds are called COFINA bonds by their Spanish acronym.
Before the COFINA deal, the transportation authority is scheduled Wednesday to refund a portion of its Series 2003AA and Series 2003H bonds in a $298 million transaction. Jefferies & Co. is senior manager, with RBC Capital Markets as a co-senior manager.
“A big portion of it is guaranteed by Assured Guaranty Ltd., and we’re just terming it out,” Batlle said. “It’s essentially terming everything out with the same maturities, just fixing the rate out.”
In other news, though Puerto Rico’s year-to-date revenue collections are underperforming by $88 million, the government said it anticipates reaching its budgeted revenue goal by June 30, the end of fiscal 2010.
Individual and corporate tax receipts and nonresident withholdings for July through April came in below estimates. Total year-to-date net revenues are $6.37 billion, $88 million less than targeted, though the government maintains its year-end revenue estimate of $7.6 billion, the GDB said.
Gov. Luis Fortuño and his administration aim to reduce Puerto Rico’s structural deficits to $1 billion in fiscal 2011 from $2.5 billion in fiscal 2010. Underperforming current-year revenues and any unrealized anticipated expenditure savings could threaten that goal.
Moody’s Investors Service analyst Emily Raimes said she does not anticipate a sizable difference in the structural deficit if the government ends up on June 30 with a greater-than-anticipated imbalance.
“I would expect that, if the fiscal 2011 structural balance increases as the commonwealth begins fiscal year 2011, it would not increase by much,” Raimes said in an e-mail.
“The commonwealth appears to be very closely monitoring revenues and expenditures,” she said, “and therefore I wouldn’t expect a large variance in end-of-year numbers versus forecast.”