Santee Cooper Board approves $1.3 billion bond refunding
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – Continuing its work to reduce debt costs for customers, the Santee Cooper Board of Directors approved today a $1.3 billion “tender and exchange” bond refunding that is expected to produce gross savings of nearly $400 million over the life of the bonds.
Santee Cooper offered to tender (purchase) or exchange $2.7 billion in bonds on Jan. 18, 2022. The offer received a strong 48% participation rate. The Board today approved the sale of:
- approximately $931 million of 2022 Tax-Exempt Refunding Series A to tender $943 million of outstanding high-coupon bonds.
- approximately $352 million of 2022 Tax-Exempt Refunding Series B to exchange for outstanding high-coupon bonds
The transaction has an all-in total interest cost of 3.31%. Santee Cooper’s final acceptance of the tender and exchange offers is contingent on closing on the 2020AB Series, which is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2022.
The deal is projected to produce approximately $378 million in gross savings (about $11 million a year), which results in approximately $250 million in net present value debt service savings. The NPV figure represents 19.4% of the refunded par amount. The transaction does not increase par or extend the life of the debt, and Santee Cooper is compliant with the parameters approved by the South Carolina Joint Bond Review Committee.
“This is a strong day for Santee Cooper,” Board Vice Chairman Dan Ray said. “We’re saving our customers a lot of money, and this will make the organization stronger financially and give us a lot more flexibility as we move forward.”
Kevin Langlais, Managing Director at Bank of America Securities, noted the strong savings compared to par. “That’s $378 million that will not be coming out of the wallets of your customers,” he said.
Ken Lott, Santee Cooper Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, thanked the many internal and external advisors involved in the complex transaction. Also, “I would like to thank the South Carolina Joint Bond Review Committee and staff for their diligence and sticking with us on this transaction. Their oversight certainly helped us keep our pencils sharp.”
Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch credit rating agencies all reaffirmed their ratings and stable outlook for Santee Cooper.
The transaction was led by BofA Securities, with JPMorgan Securities serving as senior manager. Co-managers include American Veterans Group, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley & Co., TD Securities, and Wells Fargo. American Veterans Group is a certified Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business operating in the debt and equity markets, which reinvests 25 cents of each dollar it earns back into military veteran causes. Nixon Peabody and Burr & Forman served as disclosure and bond counsel, respectively, and PFM served as financial advisor.
The Final Official Statement for these bonds will be available by contacting Santee Cooper Bondholder Relations at 1-877-246-3338. It will also be posted at santeecooper.com on the Investors page.