Georgia’s general obligation bond sale gets record low rates

Bonds

Georgia officials say they obtained the lowest interest rate ever on the state’s recent general obligation bond issue.

The $1.13 billion competitive deal sold in five bidding groups Wednesday.

“This very successful bond sale allows us to continue to invest in critical renovations and repairs of capital projects all across the Peach State,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.

It received final approval from the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission, chaired by Gov. Brian Kemp, on Thursday.

On a combined basis, the all-in true interest cost for the tax exempt and taxable bonds was 1.5242%.

“The results were really quite incredible,” said Diana Pope, director of the commission.

The new money deal is structured in two series as $809.13 million of tax-exempt GOs and $329.94 million of taxable debt.

Some of the debt is financing capital projects with five-year maturities while other projects are being financed over 20 years.

In the tax-exempt tranche, bonds financing projects over five years, sold at a true interest cost of 0.2148%. Before that, the lowest TIC the state received for five-year bonds was 0.6173% in December 2012.

The tax-exempt bonds financing projects over 20 years received a TIC of 1.6302%. The lowest TIC received before that was 2.1401% in October 2010.

The bonds are rated triple-A by Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global Ratings. All have stable outlooks.

Georgia sells debt annually for infrastructure projects across the state.

Earlier in the year the state had planned to borrow $990 million in the fiscal 2021 budget, but Pope said the amount was increased to $1.13 billion to help stimulate the economy amid the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Proceeds of the sale will finance capital projects for local K-12 schools, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, roads and bridges for the Department of Transportation, state corrections facilities, and maintenance on state-owned facilities.

“This very successful bond sale allows us to continue to invest in critical renovations and repairs of capital projects all across the Peach State, ensuring previous investments in the state’s existing facilities are preserved and that the facilities continue to meet both current and future needs of citizens,” Kemp said in a statement.

The bonds will also finance projects that support economic growth and provide job opportunities in the state’s construction industry, Kemp said.

Public Resources Advisory Group and Terminus Municipal Advisors LLC are co-financial advisors to the state.

Gray Pannell & Woodward LLP is bond counsel; Kutak Rock LLP is disclosure counsel.

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