PALMETTO, Fla. - Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Service both upgraded Port Manatee’s financial ratings in October as part of major debt restructuring by the port.
Fitch assigned a AA+ rating to the new bonds and Moody’s scored the bonds at a Aa2 rating – ranking among the highest of Florida’s 15 deepwater seaports. The ratings reflect confidence in Port Manatee’s financial stability.
Taking advantage of historically low interest and refinance rates, the port’s existing bonds and commercial paper will be restructured by refinancing with bonds totaling $38 million.
Port officials worked closely with Manatee County and the Manatee Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s office to complete the refinancing strategy. Port staff estimates $450,000 will be saved annually through the debt restructuring, which can be applied to further developing port infrastructure and accelerating debt retirement.
The strength of the county’s guarantees on the port’s debt was cited as instrumental in the port’s upgraded ratings.