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City sells $913 million in bonds at record low interest rate

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:04 p.m. HST, Oct 25, 2012

The City and County of Honolulu sold an estimated $913 million of  bonds this week at historic low rates, and refinanced older bonds to save taxpayers more than $75 million, officials announced today.

The sale included both taxable and tax-exempt bonds. The average interest rate on the tax-exempt bonds was 3.2 percent, the lowest rate in modern history, according to a news release from the city. The $75 million savings will result from refinancing more than $625 million of general obligation Bonds.

"This is a great day for Honolulu and it will help the city continue to bend the debt curve,” said Mayor Peter Carlisle.

"While some other cities have declared bankruptcies, the Honolulu team worked hard to be fiscally responsible during the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which has resulted in extraordinary savings guaranteed through the bond refinancing."

More than $2.7 billion of orders were received for the bonds, a record amount for the city. The marketing effort included an internet-based presentation viewed by more than 35 major institutions, and in-person meetings and conference calls with institutional investors in Honolulu and on the mainland.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as the lead underwriter for the offering with Piper Jaffray & Co. as the co-manager. A one-day retail order period generated more than $140 million of orders from individual investors and their advisors, according to the news release. Local financial institutions were active participants in the bond issue.

Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Services affirmed the city’s existing general obligation bond ratings at “AA+” and “Aa1” respectively — both with “Stable” outlooks.

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City sells $913M in bonds at record low rates

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