DALLAS — Bank of America Merrill Lynch won bidding Tuesday for $121.6 million of general obligation bonds from the city and county of Denver.
The triple-A-rated bonds earned a true interest cost of 2.15% for maturities over the next 16 years, said Denver debt administrator Guadalupe Gutierrez-Vasquez.
Bonds maturing in 2030 drew yields of 3.75% on 4% coupons.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch was one of 14 bidders who submitted more than 70 bids, Gutierrez-Vasquez said. Morgan Stanley was second in the bidding, closely behind BOAML, she said.
"We actually did see very strong demand," Gutierrez-Vasquez said. "I would say the rates came in a little better than we expected. That's attributable to the positive momentum that we're seeing in the market with the Fed's decision not to go forward with the tapering and the city's strong credit rating."
Jason Simmons, senior vice president at First Southwest Co.'s Denver office, served as financial advisor on the deal, which included about $70 million of refunding.
The city saved about $8 million or 8% in present value through refunding the 2002 and 2003 GO bonds, Gutierrez-Vasquez said.
"It was definitely higher than the targets we set out," she said.
"We are extremely pleased with the excellent outcome in the market today," Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. "The actions we've taken to preserve our sound financial position continue to be noticed by the market."
About $50 million of new money came from the $550 million Better Denver Bond Program approved by voters in 2007. The remaining $12 million authorized under that vote is expected to be issued in the form of capital appreciation mini-bonds that are typically sold to citizens of Denver.
The city next week plans to refund $60.8 million of certificates of participation for the Buell Theater that carry ratings of AA-plus from Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings, and Aa1 from Moody's Investors Service, all with stable outlooks.
The Buell Theater is part of Denver's Performing Arts.
Outlooks from rating analysts remain stable, reflecting the relatively strong economy of the city and its suburbs.
"The stable outlook reflects our view of the fundamental strength of Denver's deep and diverse economy, combined with management's history of proactive budget-cutting efforts in response to budget gaps to maintain what we consider very strong fund balances," wrote Standard & Poor's analyst Matthew Reining.
With this deal, Denver will carry debt of $897 million, according to Moody's Investors Service.
Denver's economy is largely recovered from the 2008 recession as evidenced by a growing housing market, and renewed job growth in a diverse mix of sectors, according to Moody's.
Denver's economy will continue to benefit from its role as a regional center for the six county metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2.5 million, analysts said.