WASHINGTON - A small bond issue by Delaware attracted big market attention yesterday as 11 syndicates bid on $15.1 million of realty transfer tax revenue bonds offered for the state's land and water conservation trust fund program.
The bonds were won by a syndicate led by Kidder, Peabody & Co. with a true interest cost of 4.7%. The other members of the group are Artemis Capital Group Inc., Oppenheimer & Co., and Samuel A. Ramirez & Co.
Sarah Jackson, the state's finance secretary, attributed interest in yesterday's sale to "the state's retroactive marketing approach and the general public interest in environmental conservation issues."
State officials said the 11 bids for the competitive offering set a Delaware record.
Debra Chambliss von Koch, Delaware's bond finance director, said seven bids would be on the high side. She said interest in the bonds may have been spurred in part because Delaware does not come to the market often. "There is a scarcity value to our paper," she said.
She also said that interest may have been fueled by the issue's short-term nature and the fact that the bonds are noncallable. "And plus there's the green concept, the idea that people can invest in something that will help the environment," she said.
Yesterday's bond sale was the second of three planned bond sales. The first sale of $15 million was in 1991. Proceeds of that offering were used to purchase more than 2,000 acres of open space. Proceeds of yesterday's sale will go toward a similar, though as yet unspecified, purchase. The third bond sale has been tentatively scheduled for the spring of 1995.
Yesterday's bonds, with maturities ranging from 1994 through 2003, are insured by AMBAC indemnity Corp. and have triple-A ratings from both Standard & Poor's Corp. and Moody's Investors Service.