Maui County plans bond sale

Maui County will float a $109 million general obligation bond to refund outstanding bonds and loans and to refund the county general fund about $45 million for money already spent on new projects, according to an announcement.

The county would gain lower interest costs by selling the bonds by competitive bid to an underwriting firm, the announcement says.

“This same approach was used in 2012, 2014 and 2015 with excellent results,” said county Department of Finance Director Mark Walker. “Bidders in the past included firms like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup and others. Competitive bidding of the bonds is a governmental best practice for highly rated general obligation bonds like Maui County’s. It is a very transparent process as there are no special relationships with underwriters, and they have to bid to get the business.”

According to the announcement, Maui County has the highest bond rating in the state: Moodys (Aa1), Standard & Poors (AA+) and Fitch (AA+).

Curt de Crinis, the county’s municipal adviser for the bond issue, said investors know Maui, and “there’s very strong demand for the county’s bonds.”

“With competitive bidding, all the underwriters have a shot at winning the bid,” he said. “Even though the ratings are AA+, the interest rates in the past have been closer to AAA. We are hoping for a similar result this time around.”