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Hawai‘i sells $1.88 billion in general obligation bonds

HONOLULU — The state has sold a record $1.88 billion in general-obligation bonds, the highest amount of bonds ever sold by the state, Gov. David Ige announced earlier this month.

Money from the sale will be used to fund new and existing projects in support of the state’s economy.

“This bond sale will provide ongoing funding for critical state construction projects including schools, highways, airports and harbors,” Ige said in a release. “These investments improve services for the people of Hawai‘i, create jobs that strengthen our communities, and contribute to the state’s economic recovery as we look beyond the pandemic.”

Prior to the bond sale, Ige and the state’s finance team met with the three primary credit-rating agencies (Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s). As a result of the presentation, Moody’s affirmed the state’s AA2 rating and revised the outlook for the state to positive, which reflects “a significant turnaround in the state’s economic and financial position,” according to the Moody’s report.

S&P affirmed the AA+ rating and revised the outlook to stable, saying that “the outlook revision reflects our view that despite the country’s strictest pandemic-response measures and continued controlled reopening of its economy, Hawai‘i’s economic momentum has shifted sufficiently upward to provide a more-manageable operating environment.”

Fitch also affirmed its AA rating with a stable outlook for Hawai‘i.

The state’s extensive marketing efforts included live investor presentations held via video conference. The state’s strong credit and long-term strength appealed to a large range of buyers, with over 120 institutions placing over $8 billion of orders for the bonds — a record number of orders for the state. Bonds were also purchased by Hawai‘i residents and local institutions as well as a number of international investors.

Additionally, the advance refunding that refinances part of the state’s existing debt will generate $76.8 million in present value savings.
Source: The Garden Island

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