UConn schedules $300M sale of debt service commitment bonds

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Retail orders will begin Monday for the University of Connecticut’s negotiated sale of roughly $300 million of UConn2000 general obligation debt service commitment 2018A new money bonds.

Wednesday’s institutional sale will follow the two-day retail period. JPMorgan is lead manager.

The par amount of the bonds is subject to change, said the university’s director of treasury services, John Sullivan.

The bonds will finance projects in the UConn 2000 Infrastructure Improvement Program, a $4.6 billion, 32-year initiative to enhance the university’s campuses.

They include the relocated Greater Hartford campus -- at the site of the old Hartford Times building downtown -- and a student recreation center, an innovation partnership building, the Gant science complex, and the Homer Babbidge Library, all at the main campus in Storrs.

About $88 million, or 30% of the proceeds, will go toward work at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, a Hartford suburb.

Connecticut's legislature enacted the UConn 2000 program for its flagship university in 1995 and has extended it several times. Last year, the state extended the program from fiscal 2024 to 2027.

UConn, established in 1881, has a 32,027 student enrollment and a $2.3 billion operating budget.

Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service rate the bonds A and A1, respectively, with stable outlooks. S&P Global Ratings assigns AA-minus and negative.

"The capital markets have recognized the tangible benefits to the state’s economy of meeting the infrastructure and educational goals of the program, as well as the university’s success in implementing them," the university said in January, in its semi-annual status report to Gov. Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly on the UConn 2000 program.

The university’s full faith and credit pledge of assured revenues -- tuition, fees, and other resources for bond repayment – provides additional security. Serial maturities will run from 2019 through 2038.

PFM Financial Advisors and Hilltop Securities Inc. are the financial advisors.

Pullman & Comley LLC is bond counsel. The Law Offices of Joseph C. Reid PA is co-bond counsel. Hawkins Delafield & Wood and Nixon Peabody LLP are co-counsel for the underwriters. Day Pitney LLP is disclosure counsel for the state.

Last month, the university issued $141.7 million of UConn 2000 special obligation student fee revenue bonds. The negotiated sale of the 2018A revenue bonds marked the university’s first new-money series for this credit in 16 years.

According to state Treasurer Denise Nappier, retail orders over two days totaled $59.5 million, or 42% of the bonds. Bonds were repriced to lower yields, said Nappier. The true interest cost for the special obligation student fee revenue bonds was 4.05%.

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