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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:37 p.m., Friday, February 10, 2006

Bond sale goes well for Hawai'i County

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Hawai'i County, after a decade of hiring Wall Street banks to sell its bonds, saved taxpayers money by being the state's first municipality since 1997 to issue debt through an auction.

The $50 million offering this week produced lower average yields for the county relative to top-rated debt than at its last three bond sales, when it hired investment banks to arrange the issues and negotiate terms.

"You want to see aggressive bidding because you want to see the highest possible price on the bonds to save taxpayers money," said Gary Kitahata, who served as the financial adviser on the transaction. "This is why the competitive bidding process works so well."

Hawai'i County's decision goes against the trend in the $2 trillion municipal bond market, where most borrowers select Wall Street bankers in so-called negotiated sales. In the past nine years, issuers in Hawai'i sold more than $10 billion of bonds without seeking competitive bids.

The Feb. 8 auction, Hawai'i County's first since 1996, produced savings over the county's prior sales, data compiled by Bloomberg News Service show.

Hawaiian Air passenger load up in January

Hawaiian Airlines flew 486,634 passengers in January, up 9.7 percent from the same month a year earlier, the company announced today.

Hawaiian also said it had 578 million revenue passenger miles in January, up 9.3 percent from a year earlier. Available seat miles totaled 660 million for the month, up 6.2 percent from the previous year. Planes flew 87.5 percent full, up from 85.1 percent a year earlier.