Ready or not, Illinois’ intriguing $4.5B deal set for splashdown

Illinois is expected to take center stage with the biggest deal of the year as it returns with a $4.5 billion offering this week that completes its one-two punch of $6 billion in borrowing to pay down a bill backlog. Last week, the first piece for $1.5 billion came competitively and it proved an easy sell for the state.

The bonds offered alluring yields from a sovereign state credit with strong statutory GO protections. The yields on the one-, two-and 12-year paper landed on par or better than where the state has recently traded.

While Illinois’ credit remains on the verge of junk, the state has bought itself some breathing room by breaking a budget impasse and passing $5 billion in new permanent income tax revenue.

Six firms are lead managing the deal and its large size could help its placement since it will offer good liquidity. The market also sees the 12-year borrowing as a positive since the state will be paying off bills that carry rates as high as 12%. Whether the deal stands to impact overall pricing levels as the market digests the new paper remains to be seen.

I'm Chip Barnett and this has been your Muni Minute.