DALLAS — Two issues from water authorities and Harris County’s annual note sale are the only deals worth more than $100 million set to price this week in Texas.
The Texas Water Development Board will offer $325.7 million of general obligation debt in two tranches through negotiated sales with JPMorgan and RBC Capital Markets as co-senior managers.
The board will issue $276.9 million of Series 2009C water financial assistance and refunding bonds for its Development Fund II program. The $222 million of new money will be used to make loans to eligible water supply districts for water projects.
The sale represents the first new-money bond issuance for the program in four years, according to development fund manager Nancy Banks Marstiller.
Another $48.8 million of Series 2009D water financial assistance refunding bonds will be issued for the board’s state participation program. Most of the debt is structured as serials maturing in 2010 through 2029, but both series also include term bonds maturing in 2030 through 2034.
First Southwest Co. is the financial adviser to the state agency and McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP is bond counsel.
The board will take retail orders on today and accept institutional orders Tuesday. The debt won’t be insured, Banks Marstiller said.
She said the board has a minimum present-value savings threshold of at least 2% for the refunding bonds, but “the numbers right now are far exceeding that.”
Fitch Ratings assigned a AA-plus rating to the bonds. Analysts said the rating reflects the state’s low debt and conservative financial operations with an economy that has expanded and diversified.
Standard & Poor’s assigned a AA rating with a stable outlook to the bonds due to the state’s full faith and credit pledge. Moody’s Investors Service rates the TWDB’s credit at Aa1.
North Fort Bend County Water Authority plans to issue $138 million of water system revenue bonds at some point this week through a negotiated sale led by RBC Capital Markets.
First Southwest is the authority’s financial adviser and Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP is bond counsel.
The bonds are structured as serials maturing in 2012 through 2034. Proceeds will be used to pay Houston for rights to purchase surface water, as well as for new construction and improvements to the water-delivery system, including upgrades to pumping stations, storage and transmission-line facilities that will to transport surface water from Houston to certain utilities of the authority.
The debt is secured with the pledged revenue of the authority, which serves a mostly suburban area that includes Fort Bend County and parts of southwest Houston. The current population within the authority’s boundaries is about 107,500 and that figure is projected to climb to 289,000 by 2025.
Both Fitch and Standard & Poor’s assigned an A-minus rating to the bonds.
Fitch said the rating reflects the authority’s adequate legal structure, essential service provided, relatively low cost of service, limited operating history with narrow financial margins, and the risk associated with a large capital program that will be predominantly debt financed, among other factors.
The four-year old authority was created as a wholesale water provider to assist groundwater pumpers — including some 65 municipal utility districts — in converting to alternative water supplies in accordance with regulatory requirements, according to analysts.
Harris County is coming to the competitive market this week with its annual sale of $395 million of tax anticipation notes. Proceeds fund the county’s cash-flow needs for the fiscal year that started March 1 and ends Feb. 28, 2010.
The county, which includes Houston, is the third-most populous in the country with about 4.1 million residents. It sold a similarly sized Tan issue last year and in 2007, while $295 million of notes were sold in 2006.
The Series 2009 notes carry ratings of F1-plus from Fitch and SP-1-plus from Standard & Poor’s.
Fitch said the highest short-term debt rating reflects the county’s “long-term credit strengths, solid note coverage by pledged revenues, and strong year-end cash balances.”
Harris County’s fiscal 2009 taxable-assessed value of $311.71 billion is more than double the $136.4 billion in 2000.