DALLAS - The Texas Public Finance Authority next month plans to market a master lease program that gives investors no security interest in the projects or purchases financed with tax-exempt commercial paper.
Anne Schwartz, acting executive director of the authority, said underwriters will sell an undetermined amount of a $75 million Series B program that will be secured solely by legislative appropriations and not by a pledge of any assets.
"It's a very innovative program," she said.
Analysts said the Texas program is not a first, noting that asset backing is seldom an issue in such master leases and that such a mortgage interest would have limited value to investors.
"The whole issue of an asset doesn't really come up," said George Leung, managing director for state ratings at Moody's Investors Service. "We're talking about a limited universe of these programs at the state level."
Hyman Grossman, managing director at Standard & Poor's Corp., agreed, saying that other programs, such as those in New Jersey, are structured similarly. "It's not really a factor," he said.
A more critical factor is market accessibility. Fitch Investors Service said the authority's role as the largest issuer in the state should guarantee continued access. However, the program is also backed by a liquidity facility provided by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Credit Local de France.
The Texas sale has been assigned the highest ratings. The Series B issue has received a P1 from Moody's. an A1-plus from Standard & Poor's, and an F1 -plus from Fitch Investors Service.
The authority has chosen J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and the Dallas-based firms of Walton Johnson & Co. and Estrada, Hinojosa & Co. to underwrite the program.
The deal is expected to be closed by Dec. 15.
The cost of issuance has been estimated at $418,625, or $5.58 per $1,000 of notes.
Earlier this year, the authority sold $20.4 million of notes in its first sale for the master lease program. State lawmakers authorized the master lease plan about four years ago because of its potential cost savings to the state.
However, the first sale only included state agency leases that were fully funded by a legislative appropriation.
The Series B issue will cover those leases in which the agency has only debt service allocated and in which the leased item is funded with a state or federal grant.
"With this we'll be able to finance anything the state wants to," said Robert Moore, deputy director of the authority.
Schwartz said the lawmakers directed that the Series A program target only agencies with complete appropriations in an effort to save the state $70 million in budget costs for the fiscal year that ends Aug. 31, 1993.
Under the initial program, a state agency that has been allocated $10 million to purchase a new computer system would turn the money over to the master lease program, which would then finance the purchase of the computer.
Assuming that lease payments through Aug. 31, 1993, total only $1 million, then $9 million would be declared as budget savings by the state at the end of the fiscal year. But state agencies have been slow to participate, with only one-fifth of the 256 showing an interest.
"The agencies are really resisting participating in the program," Schwartz said. They believe it is costing them money. "I think there is confusion out there about how the program works. It's a very difficult thing to put their arms around."
As a result, the state may not reach the $70 million in savings this fiscal year that officials had earlier projected.
"I don't know if we're going to make that," she said. "We're still trying hard to reach the $70 million mark."