Mississippi will take a $675.2 million, multi-part general obligation bond issue to market next week that will finance state capital improvement projects, provide funding for economic development efforts, and refinance existing debt.
Mississippi Treasurer Tate Reeves said the four-series sale is set for the week of Oct. 3, but the pricing date for the refunding issue may be adjusted for market conditions during the week.
Reeves said the proceeds will support critical infrastructure needs for community colleges, state universities, and state agency facilities.
“The bonds will also maintain our highway bridge program and our most recent economic development projects,” he said.
Bond proceeds are used to finance a variety of economic development efforts in the state, Reeves noted.
“As a result, we will have created 2,000 direct jobs for Mississippians, and that speaks volumes for our ability to recruit businesses,” the treasurer said. “Our focus on matching economic development incentives to growth sectors of our economy has resulted in higher-paying jobs.”
The deal includes $29.6 million of tax-exempt refunding bonds, $30.6 million of taxable refunding bonds, $357.3 million of new-money tax-exempt GOs for capital improvement projects, and $261.3 million of taxable GOs to refinance several short-term notes and fund state and local economic development programs.
Mississippi’s outstanding debt currently carries ratings of AA by Standard & Poor’s, Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-plus by Fitch.
The state had a total of $3.75 billion of outstanding GO bonds supported by general fund revenues on Sept. 1. It has no outstanding revenue debt.
Reeves said the sale will continue the tradition of a fall bond issue.
“Our legislative session runs from January to early April,” he said. “We begin planning in the summer based on legislation passed during the most recent session, and sell bonds in October or November each year.”
The underwriting team for the four series includes Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Morgan Keegan & Co., Stephens Inc., Duncan-Williams Inc., Crews & Associates Inc., Jefferies & Co., Kipling Jones & Co., Loop Capital Market, and Mesirow Financial Inc.
Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are lead managers on $353.7 million of Series A tax-exempt capital improvement GO bonds and the $261.3 million of Series C taxable economic development GOs.
Morgan Keegan and Stephens are co-senior managers of the Series B and D refunding and economic development series.
Co-bond counsel for the state are Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC and Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC.
Lindsey Carter, a vice president with Morgan Keegan, said Mississippi avoided unnecessary issuance costs by combining the four series into one sale. “There are significant economies of scale with doing all four concurrently,” she said.
The new-money offering is firm, but the size of the refunding remains fluid due to market fluctuations, according to Carter,.
“Those numbers could change up to the afternoon before the sale,” she said. “The amount being refunded will depend on the market.”
Gavin Murrey, managing director for Morgan Keegan, said the timing of the issuance should benefit the state. “We’re seeing some of the lowest rates in recorded history,” hesaid. “We’re hoping to catch the market at the right time.”
Mississippi’s strong financial outlook makes it an attractive credit in the current market, according to Murray.
“We expect a lot of investor interest, based on the strong interest in Mississippi’s debt shown in recent sales,” he said. “Mississippi is a strong credit.”
Reeves said the state has a history of conservative fiscal management.
“We pay our debt on time, we have healthy reserves in our working cash stabilization reserve fund, and our proactive approach to fiscal management has allowed us to maintain financial stability through subsequent revenue declines,” the treasurer said. “All of these are reasons why I believe Mississippi is well-positioned to have a successful bond sale this year.”
via Mississippi Set to Go With $675M – The Bond Buyer Article.