BRADENTON, Fla. — In its only issuance this year, gilt-edged Georgia expects to sell $975 million of general obligation bonds Tuesday in a single competitive sale.
The offering consists of triple-A rated new and refunding tax-exempt bonds and taxable Build America Bonds being sold in five series.
Electronic bids will be taken on each series in half-hour increments through BiDCOMP/Parity starting at 10:30 a.m.
“Certainly the state’s name and top credit ratings should be extremely attractive to both domestic and international investors,” said Bruce Gow, president of Jackson Securities LLC, which typically participates in the state’s competitive transactions.
New-money bond proceeds will fund $653.9 million of capital needs and construction loan programs at state agencies, public schools, colleges, and universities.
The sale of up to $321 million of refunding bonds depends on achieving a minimum of 4% present-value savings.
The deal could be the largest single-day sale for Georgia, which only sells debt when projects are ready to proceed.
“Interest rates are near historic lows and we do have capital projects that need funding,” said Susan Hart Ridley, director of the Georgia State Financing and Investment Division. “We expect strong bids that will produce very low costs for the state.”
The GO deal is expected to be structured as $68.9 million of 2010A refunding bonds, $252.1 million of A-2 refunding bonds, $170.2 million of 2010B tax-exempt bonds, $360.4 million of C-1 tax-exempt bonds and C-2 BABs, $94.6 million of C-3 direct-pay recovery zone economic development bonds, and $28.8 million of C-4 direct-pay qualified school construction bonds.
The A-1 refunding bonds are expected to have serial maturities between 2012 and 2021, while the A-2 refunding bonds mature between 2012 and 2022. The 2010B tax-exempt bonds are expected to be sold with maturities between 2011 and 2020. The C-4 qualified school construction bonds are expected to be sold as a term bond maturing in 2027.
Bidders will have the choice to designate tax-exempt maturities and to designate term bonds in the sale of the C-1 and C-2 BABs and the C-3 recovery zone economic development bonds, which are expected to have maturities to 2030.
In preparation for the sale, Georgia officials included eight pages of disclosure information in the preliminary official statement for investors from more than 20 countries.
“We included the language in the POS because it’s been suggested that the global-clearance procedures are helpful for underwriters,” Ridley said, adding that it gives underwriters more options.
Gow said his firm is starting to see expanded disclosure language for foreign investors in more offering documents.
“It could generate some additional interest on [Georgia’s] issue,” he said. “It also sets the stage for the state’s future issues.”
Tuesday’s bond sale is rated triple-A by Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service. The state’s GOs are typically rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s, but a rating for Tuesday’s bond sale was not available by press time.
Fitch and Moody’s affirmed their AAA ratings on around $8 billion of outstanding general obligation debt and said the outlook is stable.
Analysts credited state officials for conservative fiscal and debt management, well-funded pensions, willingness to make budget cuts, and for planning to deal with a $16.3 billion unfunded liability for other post-employment benefits.
Like other states, Georgia’s revenues have declined in the current recession and forced state officials to draw from the rainy-day fund and revenue shortfall reserves.
The state’s unemployment rate was 10% in August 2010 compared with the U.S. jobless rate of 9.6%.
State agencies have been ordered to withhold 4% of their budgets to cushion against revenue shortfalls in the current fiscal year.
Public Resources Advisory Group is the state’s financial adviser. King & Spalding LLP and Greenberg Traurig LLP are co-bond counsel. Arnall Golden Gregory LLP is disclosure counsel.