FMPA Refinances Bonds for Stanton and Stanton II Projects
ORLANDO, Fla., April 19, 2002 – The Florida Municipal Power Agency successfully priced two bond issues April 16-18 for its Stanton and Stanton II projects to take advantage of historically low fixed interest rates while reducing the projects’ exposure to possible future variable-rate debt fluctuations.
FMPA issued $85 million of Stanton II Project Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2002. The proceeds will refund all of the project’s variable-rate demand subordinated refunding bonds, Series 1997, and a portion of the project’s subordinated refunding revenue bonds, Series 2000. The Series 2002 bonds are insured by AMBAC and carry a triple-A rating.
In a separate transaction, FMPA issued $45.8 million of Stanton Project Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2002. The proceeds will refund a portion of the project’s variable-rate demand refunding revenue bonds, Series 1997, and fund an addition to the debt service reserve fund. The Series 2002 bonds are insured by FSA and will also carry a triple-A rating.
Fitch Ratings affirmed its underlying “A” rating on outstanding Stanton II senior lien debt and, as a result of the refinancing, upgraded the project’s outstanding junior lien bonds to “A” from “A-“. This step was taken based on an amendment to the Series 2002 Bond Resolution that will eliminate all subordinate debt.
Fitch also affirmed its underlying “A” rating on all Stanton Project bonds outstanding.
Both issues are expected to close April 29 and 30, 2002.
Prior to these refinancings, each project had more variable-rate debt than fixed-rate debt. While that strategy resulted in significant interest rate savings for many years, FMPA felt it was time to lock in fixed rates at the current historically low level, while maintaining some variable rate debt.
As a result of the refinancings, each project will have approximately 75% of its debt in fixed-rate bonds and 25% in variable-rate bonds. In an analysis of FMPA’s deals, Fitch wrote, “Exposure to interest rate risk related to variable-rate debt is at a manageable level of 25% of total debt, after the 2002 bonds are issued.”