The Bond Buyer this week announced the finalists for its 13th annual Deal of the Year Awards. Issuers were honored in eight categories, revealed online Nov. 3-7 through separate video announcements atBondBuyer.com.
All the award winners are also finalists for the national Deal of the Year Award, which will be announced Dec. 4 at a ceremony held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The winner will also be revealed online at BondBuyer.com later that evening.
For more than a decade, the editors of The Bond Buyer have selected outstanding municipal bond transactions – and the professionals who made them possible – for special recognition. The 2014 awards, which considered deals that closed between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014, drew nominations that represent the full diversity of the communities and public purposes the municipal finance market serves.
“The nominees included deals ranging from turnaround stories for once-distressed issuers to public-private partnerships to seemingly plain-vanilla transactions that required significant behind-the-scenes innovation to come to fruition,” said Michael Scarchilli, Editor in Chief of The Bond Buyer. “We chose the finalists for innovation, the ability to pull complex transactions together under challenging conditions, the ability to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which a transaction’s proceeds were used.”
For the fourth year, the Deal of the Year gala will also include the presentation of the Freda Johnson Award for Trailblazing Women in Public Finance. This year marks the first in which the organization is honoring two public finance professionals; one from the public sector and one from the private. The 2014 honorees are Chicago's Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott, and veteran New York-based banker Kym Arnone, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Chair.
The finalists are:
The $350 million century-bond offering from the District of Columbia Water & Sewer Authority, which may set a precedent for municipalities across the nation with pressing long-term environmental infrastructure needs. DC Water’s innovative deal not only helps meet national water quality standards, it marks the first sale of a century bond by a water and sewer utility and the first independently certified green bond sold in the United States.
The Colorado Regional Transportation District’s $441 million offering of certificates of participation, which marked the first time that any issuer had used a proposed rail line as the leased property in a COPs deal. The transaction was the second largest tax-exempt issuance of COPs in the past five years and the largest issuance in the transportation sector in the past decade.
The Karegnondi Water Authority’s $220.5 million financing to fund a 63-mile pipeline to Lake Huron, which completed Michigan’s Flint and Genesee County’s breakaway from their dependence on the Detroit water system. Entering a market where local governments across Michigan have faced heightened penalties, the authority sold the bonds to more than 30 investors and achieved an all-in borrowing cost below projections.
The Louisiana State Bond Commission’s $112 million financing of unclaimed property special revenue bonds, on behalf of the State of Louisiana, which needed to finance a portion of the state’s 200-mile-long Interstate 49 project. The state solved the problem with a unique and unconventional approach: securitizing unclaimed property receipts. To strengthen the credit, the state added an appropriation-backed promise to replenish the debt service reserve.
FAR WEST REGION
The County of Los Angeles Redevelopment Refunding Authority’s $53 million refunding of tax allocation bonds, removing them from a post-California redevelopment agency dissolution limbo. The offering was the first to be issued through a countywide program that enables its public finance staff to put together refundings for cities in the county, and the first to use a pooled structure that combined individual successor agencies into a single refunding series.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’hlaunch of MassDirect Notes. Modelled in part on the U.S. Treasury's TreasuryDirect, the innovative new program makes highly-rated Massachusetts general obligation bonds available to retail investors on a nearly continuous basis through a retail rolling offering. In 2014, Massachusetts sold on average more than $6 million a day and sold out the full $250 million program one month ahead of schedule.
The $1.04 billion Health and Educational Facilities Authority of the State of Missouri revenue bond transaction, which financed a complex debt restructuring and management structure reevaluation for St. Louis-based SSM Health Care. The transaction decreased the weighted average cost of debt for SSM Health to 3.1% from 4.6% and lowered the maximum annual debt service by nearly 10 percent, resulting in a savings of about $3 million per year.
SMALL ISSUER FINANCING
The Village of Oakwood in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s $2.69 million of various purpose notes, the first transaction financed through the Ohio Market Access Program. The unique credit enhancement program created by the Ohio Treasurer’s office helped Oakwood carry top short-term credit marks, expanded its universe of buyers and lowered the village’s borrowing cost by about 50%. The program offers a model that can be replicated nationwide.
About The Bond Buyer
Established in 1891, The Bond Buyer reaches more than 40,000 municipal finance professionals, bond issuers, government officials, and investors daily, through its web site and printed edition. It provides readers news, analysis, and data regarding municipal finance that is unavailable in its comprehensive form in any other news outlet. The Bond Buyer’s 10 annual conferences are attended by more than 2,000 market participants, and offer in-depth education about cutting-edge public-finance topics, ranging from local government finance and budgeting to how to raise capital to fund large-scale investments in the nation’s transportation, health care, higher education, and public utilities infrastructure.
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