BRADENTON, Fla. — Two Florida issuers plan to sell revenue refunding bonds to refinance variable- and fixed-rate bonds and to terminate swaps at a cost that could top more than $100 million.
The deals are coming to market because the boards overseeing Tampa Bay Water and the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority have become “risk-averse” and want to eliminate ongoing costs for liquidity facilities.
Tampa Bay Water, a regional water supplier on the state’s west coast, is putting the finishing touches on a $386 million refunding that will place its entire debt portfolio into fixed-rate bonds, according to finance director Koni Cassini.
The deal will refinance the utility’s 2001A and B bonds and associated swap options that, if not terminated, require the issuance of variable-rate debt with associated swaps by Oct. 1.
When the swaptions were inked, “the cost of liquidity support was much more amenable than it is today,” Cassini said. “Now, instead of the deal working like it should, liquidity products cost more and it’s having a financial impact on my budget.”
Cassini said liquidity bids have been as high as $1.7 million and more than originally projected. That money is needed for operations and to avoid rate hikes, she said.
The upcoming offering, being sold as 2011A and B fixed-rate bonds, is expected to be structured with maturities up to 13 years.
“With rates where they are, there are refunding opportunities with the fixed-rate bonds,” said David Moore, a managing director at Public Financial Management Inc., the agency’s financial adviser. “We plan to issue the refunding bonds so debt service is roughly similar to the current debt service schedule, which will generate [savings] that will be used to terminate as much of the swaps as we can.”
The swap termination payments have ranged from $45 million to as high as $68 million. If the premium is insufficient to take out all the swaps, variable-rate bonds may be issued to finance the remaining cost.
The bonds have been rated AA-plus by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s and Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.
Citi will be the senior manager for the 2011A bonds while Raymond James & Associates Inc. will be book-runner for the 2011B bonds.
Other firms in the syndicate are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman, Sachs & Co., JPMorgan, Loop Capital Markets LLC, Morgan Stanley, RBC Capital Markets, and Wells Fargo Securities.
The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority is monitoring market conditions daily to sell $290 million of refunding revenue bonds, according to agency spokeswoman Lindsay Hodges. The deal will take out variable-rate demand bonds, terminate swaps, and reduce liquidity costs.
With the board’s goal of reducing variable-rate exposure to no more than 35% of total debt, the OOCEA expects to issue 10-year bonds with a bullet maturity to take advantage of fixed rates, according to a presentation by First Southwest Co., the financial adviser.
The upcoming deal ultimately will require refinancing but it’s structured to defease the outstanding 2008B1 and B2 bonds and to terminate associated swaps for an estimated $58.8 million. It also is part of a plan to develop additional bond capacity for future projects, including the $2.9 billion Wekiva Parkway.
Most or all of the 2011 bonds are expected to be insured by Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. They are rated A by Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, both with stable outlooks.
Moody’s gave the bonds an A1 rating and negative outlook, and said they “carry substantial refinancing risk due to a single-term maturity in 2020.”
Wells Fargo Securities is the book-runner on the expressway authority’s deal. Other underwriters are Bank of America Merrill, Barclays Capital, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Loop Capital, Morgan Stanley, Raymond James, and RBC Capital.