ATLANTA - The Louisiana State Bond Commission has chosen Merrill Lynch & Co. to lead-manage a general obligation bond sale for the state that could total about $450 million, the commission's director said last week.

The official, Rae Logan, said Merrill was chosen because "the quality of their proposal was excellent, and they showed that they were able to meet the needs of the state."

Logan said the offering, which Louisiana hopes to sell by the end of January, will include about $320 million of refunding debt and about $125 million of new-money bonds.

She said that remaining members of the underwriting team would be selected during a special meeting of the commission's general obligation bond subcommittee set for Jan. 6. At that time, the commission will also consider candidates for financial adviser to the state. Louisiana has been without a financial adviser since October, when Jones Municipals Inc. chose not to seek a renewal of its expiring contract.

Before the new-money portion of the upcoming GO bond issue is sold, it must be approved by the state Legislature's Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, Logan noted. She does not expect this requirement to pose a problem.

Logan also said the bond commission has approved the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority's sale of up to %55 million of bonds. Proceeds will be used to purchase refunding bonds issued by local governments in the state.

In addition, the commission has approved a $137 million issue to be sold by the Louisiana Correctional Facilities Corp. to refund debt sold in 1985. The refunding will free up about $10 million from a reserve fund.

Louisiana last sold new-money GOs in March 1992 in a $229.7 million sale. In January 1992, it completed its last refunding of state GOs, a $124.6 million offering that included $36.8 million of college-savers zero coupon debt. The state's currently has a total of $2.2 billion of general obligation debt, rated Baal by Moody's Investors Service and A by Standard & Poor's Corp.

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