Proceeds of the Series 2019 were used to:
- Finance a portion of the costs of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s (the “Commission” or “DRJTBC”) approved Capital Plan;
- Eliminate all of the outstanding variable rate and swap exposures (14% of its debt profile) by fixing out underlying variable rate debt and unwinding associated swap agreements.
The Series 2019 Bonds are limited obligations of the Commission and are payable solely from the Net Revenues of the System consisting of tolls collected on the Commission’s tolled bridges. The Series 2019 Bonds are additionally secured by the Debt Service Reserve Fund established under the Indenture.
Structure and Credit
SCS worked closely with the Commission and the financial advisor to develop a plan of finance incorporating a cash optimization strategy, de-risking of swap/variable rate portfolio and a new money bond structure to meet the Commission’s targeted debt service coverage levels. We analyzed the best cash defeasance candidates on a portion of the Commission’s outstanding bonds. Additionally, SCS led the development of rating agency presentation which ultimately resulted in the Commission receiving a revised S&P outlook of “positive” from “stable”. We also assisted in the preparation of the traffic and revenue forecast report to be used to position the Commission’s credit with rating agencies and investors.
SCS developed a slides-only investor presentation which was viewed by 38 different investors, 45% of whom submitted orders. The bonds were pre-marketed on Monday (July 15) and the following morning (July 16) with different coupons in order to attract multiple investor types.
Given the favorable market conditions on Tuesday (July 16), SCS recommended that the Commission accelerate its pricing by one day. SCS presented the pre-pricing scale to the Commission at noon and received an approval to accelerate and release after proposing 1 – 2 bp bumps in years 2025 – 2049.
SCS was able to build a robust book and solicited $1.2 billion in priority orders (6.8x oversubscribed) during the order period.
The transaction received strong interest, garnering orders from 51 investors—28 of whom did not hold the Commission’s bonds previously.
Given the strong book of orders, SCS proposed tightening spreads by 3 bps in the 2020 maturity, 6 – 8 bps in the 2021 – 2030 maturities, 10 bps in the 2031 – 2032 maturities, and 4 – 7 bps from 2033 through 2049. Spreads were tighter by as much as 40 bps compared to the Commission’s 2017 transaction.
Due to SCS’ aggressive pricing performance, the Commission’s strong credit position and the scarcity value of the Commission’s credit, DRJTBC achieved a combined TIC of 2.204% and achieved $4.7 million in PV savings (or 9.30% of par defeased) on its cash defeased bonds.