A national investment-ratings agency has upgraded the status of a Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority economic-development bond program to investment grade, which should result in lower interest rates for projects it finances.
Standard & Poor’s boosted the Northwest Ohio Bond Fund from a BBB+ rating to an A- rating based on its zero percent default rate during its 26-year history, during which it has provided $250 million in financing for 64 projects, the port authority announced Tuesday. Also a factor was its 50 percent reserve-to-loan ratio, made possible by contributions from the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and Lucas County, the port said.
“By being recognized as an A- investment-grade rated bond fund, we are now able to offer more competitive rates to borrowers looking for long-term, fixed-rate financing,” said Paul Toth, the port authority’s president and chief executive officer.
The Northwest Ohio Bond Fund’s portfolio includes projects involving Owens Corning, HCR ManorCare, Dana Holding Corp., Nagle Trucking, and Toledo School for the Arts. It provides financing for projects between $2 million and $9 million and issues tax-exempt bonds for manufacturing, governmental, and non-profit operations and taxable bonds for other projects.