Case study: NC hospital system launches bond offering

A North Carolina hospital system has set plans to sell up to $175 million in tax-free bonds, a move that could signal a slight easing of the paralyzed bond market. The system, Raleigh-based WakeMed, had $840 million in revenue during its 2008 fiscal year.

WakeMed, one of the Research Triangle area's biggest hospital companies, was able to get an underwriter to sign off on the deal. But to strike that deal, it had to agree to pay higher interest rates than in the past, as well as hire bond-research agencies to rate its financial strength.

Hospital officials say that while it couldn't proceed last fall as planned, now it should be able to attract investors since bond trading has very slowly resumed. The system will use the money to pay for expansions, renovations and equipment, including parking decks and a four-story patient tower.

To learn more about the bond offering:
- read this News & Observer piece

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