Just two weeks after New York State's budget crisis triggered a minor market debacle, five state bonding authorities will be testing the waters with over $1 billion of revenue bonds this week.
Market conditions alone could force the New York issuers to ante up hefty yields to attract investors. Over $4.6 billion of bonds are slated for sale nationwide this week.
But New York issuers face an even tougher sell because of the state's finances.
Municipal dealers are hoping there is no repeat of the fiasco the New York market suffered when the state released projections that its fiscal 1993 budget gap would soar from $1.8 billion to $3.6 billion.
The delivery of the news was handled poorly, forcing New York City to delay a $1.3 billion bond sale and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to postpone closing on a $425 million revenue bond sale priced the week before. A state competitive GO deal totaling $225 million did close on time, but as of yesterday, the bonds had not yet been freed to trade.
The MTA deal did close later in that week, but underwriters saw profits disappear after the deal was repriced in the secondary to keep investors on board. A number of investors had balked at buying the bonds because of a souring municipal market and the state's budget problems.
Since the budget news has been out for about two weeks, dealers said they do not expect to see the same reaction now. But investors will have to sort through the various credits hitting the market. Some very strong credits, such as the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. and the New York State Power Authority, are not beholden to the state for appropriations.
The variety of offerings "is positive because it reaches out to different investors," said one senior underwriter. He also said it is not just a New York market, noting the state authority deals are a part of a national calendar. The underwriter said there will be buyers from outside New York interested in the credits, especially the power authority bonds. He also noted there has not been a "huge" New York market so far this year.
A senior underwriter from another firm said, "There seems to be a lot of cash out there and I think investors will be picking the creamier of the credits, and the rest of the deals will be like water trying to find a level."
Four of the seven state authority bond sales this week are state appropriation credits, a connection that may taint the deals and force some concession to the market, municipal market participants said.
The New York sales calendar kicks off with three deals slated for today, with the Medical Care FAcilities Finance Agency selling $86 million through the only competitive auction among the state offerings. The Medicare bonds are state appropriation bonds. Dealers said the interest shown by the bidding and the final scale will probably give indications of just how the other state authority bond deals -- especially those of with state appropriation ties -- will fare in the market.
Also today, the state power authority will weigh in, offering a $295 million revenue refunding bond issue through a syndicate headed by First Boston Corp. While the bonds are secured by the authority's revenues, the state's problems could have an impact, an official with the authority said.
"We are highly rated," said Wes Collins, deputy treasurer for the authority. But he noted, "We are probably going to suffer some, but it is hard to quantify.
"It is just the name," Mr. Collins said. "If New York has a problem and you have New York in your name, it is a problem."
Also today, the New York State Dormitory Authority sells the first of three bond offerings. Coming today is a $23 million refunding and new money issue offered through PaineWebber Inc. This issue, however, is being sold for a private upstate college, Hamilton College, is not secured with state aid, and will be entirely insured by MBIA, said Thomas A. Devane, deputy executive director of planning and finnancial analysis for the dormitory authority.
On Wednesday, the dormitory authority is slated to sell a $14.5 million issue for the Upstate Community College Program, Mr. Devane noted. This issue is a state appropriation credit because the state is paying 50% of the cost of financing a field house and pool on the campus of Erie Community College for the World University Games.
On Thursday, the authority sells its largest issue, a $212 million revenue bond offering, also a state appropriation credit.
In spite of the state's problems, Mr. Devane said, "I don't anticipate any penalty.
"We fully disclosed what the condition of the state was," Mr. Devane noted. "I just don't think we are going to pay an awful shellacking for this."
On Wednesday, the state's Environmental Facilities Corp. expects to sell a $342 million revenue bond offering for the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority. Terry Agriss, president of the Environmental Facilities Corp., said, "Obviously, it is not perhaps the optimal time to come to market.
"But the thing that separates us out from the other state issuers is that EFC is perceived as a very high-quality bond among state issuers," she noted. "We are one of the few AA bonds in the state."
She noted, however, "We are going to see what will happen to the power authority issue."
Also coming on Wednesday is a $110 million revenue bond offering by the Urban Development Corp. This issue is a state appropriation bond and proceeds will be used to finance prison rehabilitation and new construction, as well as pay off the rest of the purchase price of the Easton Correctional Facility.
Raymond Savino, chief financial officer of the corporation, said the state's fiscal problems and the volume of bonds coming to market "are considerations we will study as we approach the pricing." He said the deal is going uninsured and the maximum yield may be between 7.15% and 7.25%. That pricing scale may change, however, depending on market conditions, he said.