It’s Not Just About the Risk of AAF / Brightline Defaulting on Bonds; it’s also About the Collateral

buying_muni_bonds_risk

ON DECEMBER 11, 2015 JENNIFER SORENTRUE OF THE PALM BEACH POST WROTE THAT “AAF WANTS MORE TIME TO SELL IT’S $ 1.75 BILLION IN TAX EXEMPT BONDS…and has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to extend the January 1, 2016 deadline that Federal officials set for the deadline.

This is the second time AAF has asked for an extension.

Four large investment management firms , Wells Capital Management, Van Eck Global, Lord Abbett and Invesco, Ltd. have all publicly commented on the issuance of AAF Private Activity Bonds.

Wells and Van Eck have said no. Lord Abbett and Invesco are hesitating.

We reached the Managing Director of one of the firms who said selling the bonds “depends on whether or not the investor feels they are being appropriately compensated for the credit criterion.”

Additionally, in a “liquidation situation, is there sufficient collateral?”

Although he indicated his analysts had worked the deal, if the right of ways of Florida East Coast Railway’s tracks were posted as collateral, “what is the value of a right way if passenger traffic doesn’t work?”

(Standard and Poor classified Florida East Coast Railway seven steps below investment grade in 2014.)

In order to “entice investors they may have to put up more or better collateral.”

“They have real estate and trains.”  If the real estate and trains are leveraged, what’s their value?

We asked if it could be possible that in the end Florida will end up with a half completed project?

He indicated that in that event they will need “other sources of financing.” But, he said, “even with the current offering there will need to be more restrictions.”

AAF may need to raise more capital from Fortress to entice investors.

He indicated another factor affecting the sale of the bonds is happening in Texas, where “a Texas agency, (Mission Development Corp.) has delayed pricing $1.4 billion of speculative debt for a methanol plant since releasing offering documents Oct. 19.

And the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority, struggling to access capital as the island staggers toward default, couldn’t lure buyers even with yields of 10 percent.” (Source: BloombergBusiness)

OCI Beaumont plant

Netherland’s-based fertilizer giant OCI N.V’s massive new greenfeld world scale methanol plant in Beaumont, Texas

According to U.S Lipper Fund Flows, “data has showed that money being invested in risky municipal bonds has slowed to $ 1.2 billion in 2015 compared with $ 8.8 billion in 2014.”

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