Ohio will keep about $35 million in disputed tobacco company payments from 2003 as a result of an arbitration panel's ruling today, the Ohio Attorney General's office said.
The panel concluded that the state had on balance lived up to its part of a landmark 1998 settlement between most states and U.S. tobacco companies.
The decision is good news for owners of about $5 billion of bonds, backed by Ohio's share of the settlement, said Dick Larkin, a credit analyst at HJ Sims & Co.
He added that it does not guarantee there will not be a bond default as the so-called Buckeye bonds’ cash flow is still weak.
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