Another municipality is refinancing its tobacco settlement bonds.
New York’s Niagara County is in the market with $44.74 million of bonds backed by payments received from tobacco companies under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, according to a presale report published Friday by Fitch Ratings.
Raymond James is the lead underwriter.
The offering, Niagara Tobacco Asset Securitization Corp., Series 2014, consists of 12 classes of notes maturing between 2015 and 2034 with preliminary BBB+’ ratings from Fitch and a single class of notes maturing in 2040 with a preliminary BBB’ rating.
Proceeds will refund the outstanding bonds issued in 2000, pay the cost of 2014 bond issuance and provide for additional proceeds payable to the county as holder of the residual certificate.
The transaction is backed by 100% of the payments the county receives from participating tobacco manufacturers to the states under the Master Settlement Agreement. Under the agreement, Niagara County is entitled to 0.467% of the annual payments received by the state of New York, which receives 12.7620310% of all payments.
Cash flow from the Master Settlement Agreement that are in excess of scheduled payments and optional redemptions will be released to the NTASC 2005 subordinate bonds, held by the New York Counties Tobacco Trust V (NYCTTV), which are subordinate to the Niagara Tobacco Asset Securitization Corp., series 2014 bonds.
The 2000 series had an original principal balance of $47.92 million, according to a presale report published at the time of issuance by Moody’s Investors Service. The structure includes serial bonds with maturities from 2013 through 2022 and term bonds maturing in 2011, 2013, 2029, 2034 and 2040.
Niagara County’s deal comes on the heels of a larger refinancing by the State of Rhode Island, which is offering $593 million of new bonds backed by payments from the Master Settlement Agreement. Proceeds will be used to redeem approximately $523 million of tobacco settlement bonds outstanding that it issued in 2002, repurchase some of the notes issued in 2007, and make a payment of at least $20 million to the state, according to the prospectus. That deal is on hold because Oppenheimer, the holder of the majority of the 2002 notes, has challenged it in court.