Bond decisions clear way for sale in New Orleans

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2009 4:12 PM

New Orleans plans to hold its first bond sale in two years this week after three agencies affirmed investment-grade ratings for the city.

The latest decision was released Monday by Standard & Poor's. It followed findings earlier this month by Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service.

The city hopes to sell $40 million in bonds Wednesday, with Mayor Ray Nagin planning to use the proceeds for street work. New Orleans hasn't sold bonds since late 2007, with poor market conditions and a below-investment grade rating from Standard & Poor's forcing postponement of a planned $80 million sale last fall.

While the city improved its rating earlier this year, officials opted to break the $80 million into two sales, hoping this would be more attractive to a still-regrouping market. That improved standing is what the agencies affirmed in recent days.

The Board of Liquidation, City Debt is tentatively planning for a second $40 million sale in the second half of 2010.