Fitch Ratings, a global bond rating agency based in New York, reaffirmed its rating of the V.I. Public Finance Authority’s Matching Fund Revenue Bonds as stable investments, including a BBB grade on the senior bonds, according to a statement released Saturday by Government House.
The PFA bonds have been and continue to be a critical source of government funding for capital projects, Government House said in its announcement, and have also been used to finance government operating costs in the wake of the ongoing recession. Fitch assigned a stable outlook to all of the outstanding obligations.
“This action by Fitch is a timely reaffirmation of the solid condition of our outstanding bonds," Gov. John deJongh Jr. said. "Coming on the heels of the affirmation in June of our Gross Receipts Taxes bond ratings by Fitch, as well as Standard & Poor’s, this provides one more vote of confidence by the investment community at a time when troubles in Puerto Rico have cast a pall over the municipal bond markets."
DeJongh said the government will pay heed to Fitch’s report.
“We appreciate Fitch’s continued diligence, and continue to take their words of caution to heart, as they point out that we still have work to do to bring our economy back, to stabilize our pension system and to restore long-run fiscal stability,” he said. "We continue to appreciate the work of each of the bond rating agencies, as they affirm the strengths of our bonds, and support our efforts to confront the continuing challenges that we face.”
According to Finance Commissioner Angel Dawson, Jr. who also is executive director of the PFA, the timing of the report is perfect.
“This action by Fitch comes at a great time, as we are coming to market next week with the sale of Gross Receipts Taxes Bonds. While this was a confirmation of the Matching Fund Bond ratings, it is an important statement that hits home to our investors that our bonding program is well structured and our ratings are stable,” Dawson said.