Wednesday , 18 September 2019
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Port revenue bonds issued by the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) have received strong evaluations from two major bond rating agencies. Standard & Poor's gave its "A+" long-term rating with a "stable outlook" to the Port Facilities Revenue Refunding Bonds and affirmed that same rating and outlook for about US$217m in outstanding Port Facilities Revenue Bonds.

Virginia’s stable outlook

Moody’s Investors Service assigned its “Aa3” rating with a “negative outlook” to the bonds and gave that same rating to the outstanding port facilities bonds.

Standard & Poor’s said its long-term ratings reflect “the authority’s continued good financial performance, despite recent container volume declines due to the global recession.” It also cited the port’s good competitive position as a natural, deep-channel port, with a central location on the East Coast, improving rail connections to the Midwest, and a history of good labour relations.”

The proceeds from the April 21, 2010 bond issue will be used to refund US$55m worth of bond anticipation notes the VPA issued in 2008 and rolled over last year. When short-term interest rates fell more sharply than long-term rates two years ago, it was more economical for the VPA to use bond anticipation notes for its funding when compared with traditional long-term bonds, said Rodney Oliver, VPA’s CFO. He said the VPA saved US$10m over two years in its decision to use the short-term notes.

The good financial news came as the port authority was reporting a third consecutive month of positive growth for the for port’s container trade. The March numbers show double-digit gains for import and export containers giving the port its best month since October 2008.