TEXT-Fitch affirms Texas Water Development Board revs at 'Aaa'

Wed Nov 7, 2012 2:22pm EST

Related Topics

Nov 7 - Fitch Ratings affirms its 'AAA' rating on the Texas Water
Development Board's (TWDB) state revolving fund (SRF) program bonds: 

--$116.6 million SRF senior lien revenue bonds at 'AAA';

--$764.9 million SRF subordinate lien revenue bonds at 'AAA'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable. 

SECURITY 

Senior bonds are secured by loan repayments, a debt service reserve fund (DSRF) 
and interest earnings. Subordinate lien bonds are secured by excess loan 
repayments and interest earnings.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

STRONG FINANCIAL STRUCTURE: Fitch's cash flow modeling demonstrates that the SRF
program can continue to pay bond debt service even with portfolio loan defaults 
of 68%(the default tolerance rate) over the next four-years and 100% over the 
middle and last four-year periods. This is in excess of Fitch's 'AAA' liability 
default hurdle of 30%(as produced using Fitch's Portfolio Stress Calculator - 
PSC), which is derived based on overall pool credit quality as measured by the 
rating of underlying borrowers, size, loan term, and concentration.

SOLID LOAN SECURITY: Program loans are secured primarily by the obligors' 
utility system revenue or GO pledges. 

HIGH BORROWER CONCENTRATION: The loan portfolio has a high single borrower 
concentration with the largest borrower, Trinity River Authority (revenue bonds 
rated 'AA+' by Fitch) comprising 39.5% of the portfolio.  The second largest 
borrower, City of Houston (combined utility system revenue bonds rated 'AA-' by 
Fitch), accounts for approximately 20% of the outstanding portfolio. The pool's 
concentration risks are largely mitigated by strong borrower credit quality. 

HIGHLY RATED POOL: TWDB's SRF pool is of high credit quality and includes, with 
at least 79% of the pool exhibiting 'AA-' or higher credit characteristics. 

SOLID RESERVE INVESTMENTS: TWDB maintains sound investment practices as the 
program's DSRF is held in U.S. treasury securities. 

CREDIT PROFILE

STRONG ABILITY TO WITHSTAND RATING STRESS HURDLE 

TWDB makes loans for clean water SRF (CWSRF) projects to pool participants from 
bond proceeds, SRF federal capitalization grants and recycled funds, and pledges
those loan repayments and interest earnings to debt service. Pledged loan 
repayments combined with a debt service reserve fund dedicated to senior lien 
bonds provide significant aggregate program debt service coverage of 2.35x 
(total program resources divided by total debt service). These resources allow 
the senior and subordinate lien bonds to perform even if loan defaults were 68% 
over the first four years of the bonds life and 100% over the middle and last 
four years. This is well in excess of the Fitch's PSC stress hurdle of 30%. 

In its analysis, Fitch conservatively incorporates a 15% maximum interest rate 
on the board's outstanding variable rate demand bond principal totaling 
approximately $69.1 million. The TWDB maintains sufficient program cash to cover
any market disruptions that might impact variable interest rates. The TWDB 
monitors the interest rate resets daily and is prepared to call part or all of 
the bonds as necessary. 

BONDS ENHANCED BY SOLID RESERVE INVESTMENTS 

The program DSRF is invested in U.S. Treasuries and amounts in excess of the 
requirement are used to redeem senior lien debt service until such bonds fully 
mature in 2021. The subordinate bonds are paid by excess loan repayments and 
interest earnings. The absence of a DSRF for subordinate debt is typical and 
acceptable at the high rating level given the strong debt service coverage. 

STRONG LOAN QUALITY REFLECTS CAREFUL UNDERWRITING:

The loan pool consists of over 150 borrowers. Approximately 90% of all 
outstanding loans exhibit investment-grade characteristics; Fitch does not 
express an opinion on the remaining borrowers' credit quality. The top 10 
borrowers account for approximately 79% of the portfolio's loan principal. While
the single borrower concentration is high, the pool's strong credit quality and 
management's solid underwriting guidelines somewhat mitigate concentration 
risks. Recently, TWDB instituted a procedure to its underwriting practice by 
establishing a loan committee of key staff members to review projects prior to 
board review. Loan security provisions are also strong, consisting of water and 
sewer revenue or GO pledges.


Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings above
were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been 
compensated for the provision of the ratings. 

Applicable Criteria and
FILED UNDER:
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article