News Column

Georgia Regents Health System refinances $160 million in bonds

August 13, 2014

By Tom Corwin, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.



Aug. 13--Georgia Regents Health System and some of its affiliated foundations have refinanced almost $160 million in bonds to take advantage of lower rates, officials said. The revenue bonds were refinanced last month through the Augusta Economic Development Authority, but that does not mean the agency issued the bonds, authority executive director Walter Sprouse said.

"The only thing we do is we just approve it," he said. "We're the vehicle, in other words. We don't back it. If anybody we approve any industrial revenue bonds for, if for some reason they default, that's their problem. We don't back it. We don't put any money into it."

Refinancing two $60,945,00 issues from 2008 will get better rates and allow GRU to lower its debt service payments, officials said.

"The rates are lower right now for any kind of bonds or mortgages or loans," Sprouse said.

The authority also authorized the refinancing of about $26 million in bonds from a public-private venture used to build a research building for the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center and about $9 million in bonds used to build the Jaguar Student Activities Center, said Aisha Lavin, director of business operations for facilities for GRU.

"We've had people advising us through the years, as the markets have gone up and down, when conditions were right to refinance," she said. "It just so happened that both of those seemed like they were prime opportunities at this time so we have proceeded with that."

The health system's board voted in April to proceed with the revenue bonds and refinancing. The money has provided capital for various projects, such as the clinical building for the GRU Cancer Center, the renovation of the Emergency Department and the renovation of various floors, spokeswoman Christen Carter said.

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(c)2014 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)

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Source: Augusta Chronicle (GA)


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