Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL and CAL.A) announced today it has closed on the issuance of $730.4 million of tax-exempt bonds to finance a portion of the Global Gateway Program at Newark International Airport. The bonds are being issued through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority with an average interest rate of 6.4%. Continental will repay the bonds over a term of 30 years. The lead underwriter on the transaction is Goldman, Sachs and Co. This transaction is the largest non-investment grade tax-exempt bond issuance ever completed.
The proceeds of the bond sale will be used to fund numerous improvement projects slated for Continental’s hub in Newark. With a scheduled completion date of 2002, the Global Gateway projects include: a new C3 concourse in Terminal C, a new International Baggage Facility, a satellite Federal Inspection Service center to process incoming international passengers and improvements to the concessions, restaurants and restrooms throughout Terminal C.
“This bond issuance shows that investors believe what we already know about Continental at Newark. This hub plays a vital role in the local regional economy and is irreplaceable for passengers who utilize it. These improvements will make the travel experience even better for our passengers,” said Larry Kellner, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
“We are extremely pleased to provide a financing structure that helped make this expansion feasible for Continental,” said Anthony R. Coscia, chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. “This project is EDA’s largest bond issue on behalf of a private entity and exemplifies Governor Whitman’s efforts to create a business friendly climate in New Jersey that will create thousands of new jobs in the region.”