By Geoff Zochodne, posted with permission from QP Briefing
Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa will hit New York tomorrow1 to meet with business leaders and investors from the Big Apple, with a goal of enticing them to take another bite of the province’s bonds.
Wynne is scheduled to give “a keynote speech on Ontario’s economic plan” Thursday to the Canadian Association of New York. There will also be a discussion panel in front of investors and others at the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Sousa said he will be meeting with bond issuers while in New York, and that his “primary focus” will be dealing with the business community and protecting the province’s market value.”Ontario is well-regarded. Our bonds and our issues are highly sought-after,” Sousa told reporters.
One type of bond that has been in high demand among investors is the province’s Green Bonds, which are used to finance transit and environmentally-friendly projects. The Liberal government has laid out a 10-year, $130-billion infrastructure program it needs to fund, and Green Bonds are part of the solution for transit projects.
The first round of Green Bonds was a $500-million issue last October that was swamped with $2.4 billion in orders. According to the budget, Canadian, American, European and Asian investors all got in on the deal.
“It was oversubscribed,” Sousa said. “Green Bonds are a very attractive means by which to provide for some sorts of capital.”
The Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit Project was the first project to be funded with Green Bonds. Another issue is planned for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Sousa credited Ontario’s economic recovery from the recession, its ability to service debt and an economy projected to be the fastest- or among the fastest-growing in the country as adding to the attractiveness of its debt.
The Liberal government must also finagle an initial public offering for Hydro One stock, with the ultimate goal of selling 60 per cent of the company for an estimated $9-billion. A Bloomberg report in April said2 the government had invited Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs, Barclays and six of Canada’s biggest banks to bid on setting up the IPO.
Sousa met with ratings agencies in Ontario following the release of his budget in April. One agency, Moody’s, has said it continues to see risks in the province’s budget as the government works to eliminate its $10.9-billion deficit.
After the stop in New York, Wynne will head to Washington to meet with “key decision-makers” in the U.S. government. The premier has speeches scheduled at the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, as well as at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute, “where she will outline how unprecedented investments in infrastructure and Ontario’s actions on climate change will pave the way for a more sustainable future for the region,” a release said.
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