Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Aaa rating to $265 million in New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. revenue bonds scheduled for sale tomorrow.
The corporation has named Bear, Stearns & Co., as the deal's senior manager, and Goldman, Sachs & Co., as its co-senior manager. The issue will help municipalities finance 59 projects.
The rating agency also revised to Aaa from Aa the ratings on all earlier revolving fund revenue bonds, affecting $337 million in debt.
The corporation sells debt for municipalities through its revolving fund. The fund helps New York municipalities finance environmental projects required by the federal Clean Water Act.
Initiated in 1987, the act created the revolving loan funds that let states leverage federal moneys to finance improvements to waste water treatment projects.
In giving the corporation its highest rating, Moody's cited a higher level of pledged reserves available for bond holder security, and the size and diversity of the corporation's loans to municipalities.
A total of 41 municipalities are scheduled to participate in tomorrow's transaction. Two of the largest, Nassau County, N.Y., and Auburn, N.Y., will receive proceeds of about $65 million and $50 million, respectively.
The $265 million issue represents the eighth pooled loan offering to be issued under the corporation's 1991 master financing indenture. State sources say the upcoming issue will be the largest in the corporation's history.
In the past, large deals would finance projects for about 20 municipalities, and the transaction's size would range from $50 million to $100 million. The corporation has issued $2.2 billion m debt.
Under the corporation's bonding method, the corporation sells bonds on behalf of a municipality, which must then pay debt service on the securities.
In a release, Moody's attributed the $265 million issue's "prime-quality credit strength" to a number of features. Borrowers have pledged to use all their taxing pOwers to repay the loans, the rating agency said.
In addition, the issue feature substantial debt service reserves. The reserves will come from the corporation's federal aid and state matching funds, and the reserves are expected to be invested in a guaranteed investment contract with a commercial bank rated at least Aa by Moody's.