Auction-rate bond

Auction-rate bond.

An auction-rate bond has a term of 20 or 30 years but pays interest at an adjustable rate. The rate is reset on a fixed schedule every 7, 14, 28, or 35 days in a modified Dutch auction. The process is similar to the way rates are set when new US Treasury bills are auctioned.

Municipalities and not-for-profit institutions have used these securities successfully to reduce the cost of borrowing for long-term financing.

However, because auction-rate bonds are vulnerable to lowered credit ratings, rising interest rates, and lack of liquidity, auctions for these bonds can fail in situations such as a subprime mortgage crisis.

Failed auctions, in which there are too few buyers, affect both owners and issuers. Bondholders who wish to sell what they assume to be liquid investments cannot do so. At the same time, issuers are forced to pay substantially higher default rates, which are set when the bond is initially sold. This added cost can increase local tax rates.

Some issuers may refinance to conventional long-term bonds when credit tightens. In addition, in 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that municipal bond issuers can legally bid on their own issues to prevent an auction from failing, provided they disclose their participation.

References in periodicals archive ?
The situation dates to 2008, when the credit crisis led to a collapse in the auction-rate bond market, and bond insurance-one of the more popular means of enhancing interest rates became scarce, explains Matthew J.
Auction-rate bonds allow issuers to issue debt maturing in as long as 40 years at short-term rates that are reset every seven, 28 or 35 days through bidding.
PITTSBURGH, March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Solving a case involving auction-rate bonds, a team from Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business won the school's 16th annual Corporate Finance Case Competition, Feb.
6 million in cash to purchase the series 2003 auction-rate bonds which will then be redeemed in fiscal 2009, which Fitch views as a credit positive.
Certain closed-end municipal bond funds issue preferred stock which is similar to municipal auction-rate bonds in that a floating rate is determined by an auction.
Bay Area Toll Authority (CA) (Bay Area Toll Bridges) auction-rate bonds series 2007 D-2;
Citizens plans to invest the proceeds of the taxable, auction-rate bonds, using interest earnings first, then other revenues, to pay back the debt.
Those bonds will be supported by two separate letters of credit from PNC Bank and Wachovia Bank, with proceeds to be used to refinance Bayhealth's series 2002 and 2003 auction-rate bonds.
GrayRobinson serves as disclosure counsel to Citizens Property Insurance for the taxable, auction-rate bonds.
South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (SC) (Palmetto Health Alliance) hospital improvement revenue auction-rate bonds series 2003B rated 'BBB+'.
The maximum rate definition limits the amount of interest the trust can pay on the auction-rate bonds.