DALLAS — There’s nearly $1.5 billion of debt expected to come to market this week in Texas, including some large refundings.

The Port of Houston Authority may price $275 million of refunding bonds subject to the alternative minimum tax at some point this week. Proceeds take out commercial paper and refund Series 1998 bonds. Merrill Lynch & Co. is lead manager for the negotiated sale.

Moody’s Investors Service assigned a Aa1 rating to the sale. Analysts said the rating reflects the authority’s “significant tax base with minimal debt levels and well maintained financial operations.”

Houston plans to bring $125 million of airport system revenue refunding bonds to market this week, as well. UBS Securities LLC will lead the negotiated sale.

The North Texas Municipal Water District plans to offer about $110.5 million of water system revenue bonds competitively Thursday. First Southwest Co. is financial adviser to the district, which carries underlying ratings of AA-plus from Standard & Poor’s and Aa3 from Moody’s. Fulbright & Jaworski LLP is bond counsel.

The Texas Water Development Board will offer $257 million of state revolving fund subordinate-lien revenue bonds Series 2008B Tuesday in a negotiated sale led by Morgan Keegan & Co. The board carries natural triple-A ratings from Moody’s, Fitch Ratings, and Standard & Poor’s.

A number of Texas school systems, including two fast growing districts around San Antonio, are bring debt to market this week backed by the triple-A rated Permanent School Fund.

Numerous school districts will be in the market over the next few weeks because of the need to make a debt-service payment during the current fiscal year to be eligible for assistance under the Lone Star state’s existing debt allotment.

The Austin Independent School District plans to offer $100 million of unlimited-tax refunding bonds today in a competitive sale on the heels of upgrades from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

PFG Group is financial adviser to the district and Andrews Kurth LLP is bond counsel.

Standard & Poor’s raised the underlying rating on the district to AA-plus from AA due to continued economic growth that, combined with solid financial management practices, has resulted in strong reserve levels despite state-funding constraints.

Moody’s raised the credit to Aa1 from Aa2.

The Waco Independent School District expects to price about $133.3 million of school building and refunding bonds Tuesday through a negotiated deal. The underwriting syndicate for the sale includes Piper Jaffray & Co., First Southwest, Southwest Securities Inc., Merrill Lynch, and First Public LLC.

RBC Capital Markets is the financial adviser to the central Texas district.

Moody’s assigned an A1 underlying rating to the deal and analysts said the district’s tax base averaged 6.3% annual growth the past five years to $3.37 billion for fiscal 2008 and officials anticipate continued expansion to about $3.7 billion next year. The district serves about 15,200 students.

The Northside Independent School District is coming to market with $90 million of unlimited-tax school building bonds following upgrades to AA by Fitch and Standard & Poor’s.

This week’s sale is the second tranche from a $693 million authorization approved by voters in May 2006.

Underwriters for the negotiated sale include Southwest Securities, Frost National Bank, Morgan Stanley, and Banc of America Securities LLC.

First Southwest is the financial adviser to the district, which is one of the largest and fastest growing in Texas. Fulbright & Jaworski is bond counsel.

Northside’s enrollment has increased 42% the past 10 years to more than 85,500 for the most recent school year. Officials project continued growth and a total student population of more than 100,000 within five years.

In the past five years, the district has added almost 11,000 students, built 18 new schools, and renovated numerous facilities. And another 15 schools are expected to open in the next three years. The district serves a total population of about 431,000 in Bexar, Medina, and Bandera counties, northwest of downtown San Antonio.

Analysts from Fitch and Standard & Poor’s cited the district’s strong reserves, prudent financial management, and large, diverse and growing property-tax base in the upgrades.

The Comal Independent School District plans to issue the first $150 million of debt from a $206 million authorization approved by 70% voters in May. Proceeds will fund three new elementary schools, upgrades to existing campuses, and land acquisition for future schools.

First Southwest is lead underwriter for the negotiated sale. SAMCO Capital Markets is financial adviser to the suburban district northeast of San Antonio.

Moody’s bumped the district’s underlying rating up to Aa3 from A1 due to a growing tax base and sound financial management. The district is adding about 1,000 students annually and officials expect enrollment to reach 20,000 by 2012.

The Stanton Independent School District plans to issue about $9 million of unlimited-tax school building bonds this week in a negotiated sale with Southwest Securities and Edward Jones as co-managers.

First Southwest is the financial and Underwood, Wilson, Berry, Stein & Johnson PC is bond counsel.

Proceeds will be used to provide renovations to the district’s three campuses. Enrollment in the small West Texas district has been relatively flat the past five years at 750 students.

The Amarillo Junior College District is bringing $22 million of general obligation bonds to the competitive market today.

First Southwest is financial adviser to the Texas Panhandle district and Fulbright & Jaworski is bond counsel.

Fitch assigned an AA rating to the sale, citing the college’s solid operating margins, low debt levels, and financial flexibility enhanced by an available taxing margin.

Proceeds from the sale will fund the first of three phases of an expansion plan that includes construction of a new facility to house the college’s nursing and dental programs.

Abilene is bringing a three-tranche issue worth $19.1 million to the competitive market Thursday.

The city about 150 miles west of Fort Worth plans to offer $8.7 million of combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation, Series 2008A, $8 million of GOs, and $2.4 million of of combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation Series 2008.

First Southwest is financial adviser to the city and Fulbright & Jaworski is bond counsel.

Standard & Poor’s upgraded the city’s credit to AA-plus from AA on “consistently stable finances.” 

 

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