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May 202309

Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Receives AA+ and Aa3 Bond Ratings from Two Top Rating Agencies

NEW ORLEANS – In recently published ratings, both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Services assigned high ratings to the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (“the Authority”), Louisiana’s (EHA) $125 million special tax bonds, series 2023. Receiving high ratings from both agencies reflects the Authority’s continued growth and financial strength.

Moody’s and Fitch are two of the world’s most widely recognized rating agencies. They rate the creditworthiness of countries and private enterprises.

AA+ rating from Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings assigned an AA+ rating to the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, Louisiana’s (EHA) $125 million special tax bonds, series 2023. According to Fitch, the rating outlook is stable.

Fitch reported, “Affirmation of the ‘AA+’ rating reflects a solid resilience cushion and projected strong post-pandemic pledged revenue growth, as well as sizeable reserves available to support debt service payments.”

Fitch cited the return of Mardi Gras, French Quarter Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, as well as increased convention center activity post-pandemic, as signs of continued recovery in the tourism industry and increased visitor traffic to the city. Fitch also affirmed an EHA rating of AA+ for $26.8 million special tax refunding bonds, series 2022.

Aa3 rating from Moody’s Investors Service

Moody’s Investors Service assigned an Aa3 rating to the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, LA’s Special Tax Revenue Bonds, Series 2023 for the anticipated par amount of $125 million.

Moody’s reported, “The credit profile of the New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (Aa3) benefits from a robust recovery of pledged revenues as the effects of the pandemic have waned as well as strong debt service coverage which we expect to continue. The Authority’s ability to maintain solid debt service coverage through economic disruptions is also a credit benefit.”

“Receiving high ratings from both Moody’s (Aa3) and Fitch (AA+) for our outstanding bonds is a double vote of confidence for our credit rating,” said Michael J. Sawaya, Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority and Convention Center President. “Managing our funds with foresight and care — even through market fluctuations and uncertain times — has allowed us to keep the Authority in compliance with all of its current bond covenants and be well positioned to fund our capital improvements.”

The special tax bonds, series 2023 are scheduled for a negotiated sale the week of May 8. Proceeds will finance various improvements and upgrades to the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

About the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 13-member board of commissioners, ten appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.

 

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