Tobacco Debt in Turmoil

Finestone, Deborah
April 2003
Bond Buyer;4/2/2003, Vol. 344 Issue 31606, p1
Trade Publication
The decline by Moody's Investors Service Inc. of 19 billion dollars of outstanding tobacco bonds delayed one deal from closing and putting future transactions as pending. Virginia indefinitely delayed the closing on its 767 million dollars of taxable and tax-exempt tobacco bonds, which priced March 21, 2003. The sale, lead managed by Morgan Stanley, was to have closed on April 3, 2003. The Moody's downgrade of all tobacco-backed debt up to three steps follows Philip Morris USA Inc.'s announcement that it might be unable to make the April 15, 2003, payment under the 1998 national tobacco settlement after an Illinois judge in March 2003 ordered the company to post a 12 billion dollar appeal bond in order to contest a ruling against it in a case brought by smokers of light cigarettes.


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