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LAREDO (TEXAS) TAX-BACKED BONDS RATED 'A' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Laredo, Texas's $3 million general obligation bonds, series 1993, $3.6 million combination tax and sewer revenue certificates of obligation, series 1993, and $9.7 million combination tax and waterworks revenue certificates of obligation, series 1993 are rated `A' by Fitch. The bonds will sell competitively on Nov. 8. The credit trend is stable. The $77.6 outstanding `A' parity general obligations, certificates of obligation, and contractual obligations are affirmed.
 Laredo's economy is greatly influenced by its proximity to Mexico and location at the juncture of several major highways serving Mexico and the U.S. tourism has been a major economic force, and the city continues to benefit from growth in "twin-plant" projects, with the warehousing and distribution of Mexican assembled goods adding to Laredo's tax and job base. Currently, import and export traffic with Mexico is concentrated in Laredo. The city's economy has benefited from Mexico's currency stabilization and other reforms. While the city's economy declined sharply with peso devaluations in the 1980s and exhibited vulnerability to fluctuations in the Mexican economy in the past, future performance for both Laredo and Mexico is expected to be more stable. The city is well-positioned to benefit from continued development in Mexico, with or without a free trade agreement, given its advantageous transportation network and existing economic and cultural ties. However, wealth levels are low and unemployment is above average, although the jobless rate has been decreasing recently.
 The city's recent financial performance has been sound, marked by annual operating surpluses and strong year-end balances. Laredo benefits from diverse operating revenue sources, including property and sales taxes as well as charges for services, mostly garbage collection fees and surplus toll bridge revenue. Expenditure growth generally has been within that of revenue, and the general fund year-end balances have met the city's 15 percent-20 percent of expenditures guideline since fiscal 1989. Laredo's debt burden is moderate despite significant issuance recently. These issues complete a recent bond authorization, although a $26.65 million bond package was approved by voters yesterday.
 -0- 11/3/93
 /CONTACT: Amy S. Doppelt of Fitch, 212-908-0514/


CO: ST: Texas IN: SU: RTG

CK -- NY117 -- 0386 11/03/93 18:25 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 3, 1993
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