2011-11-01 "Investing in Indian Country — Navajo Nation to issue $120 million in A rated non-Gaming Bonds"
The Navajo Nation will soon be issuing $120 million in non-gaming bonds. This is big news from a Native economic development perspective for a number of reasons:
1. The $120 million bond issuance will be the largest non-gaming issuance in years. This underscores the fact that Indian Country is a burgeoning development force outside of the gaming space. Bloomberg reports that the proceeds will be used for a variety of business projects, including convenience stores, shopping centers, hotels and other enterprises.
2. The bonds will carry an A rating from Standard & Poors, which will result in an attractive rate for the Navajo Nation and security for investors. It’s important to note that the Navajo’s A rating is higher than California. This speaks volumes about the stability and credit-worthiness of Indian Country.
3. The Navajo Nation intends to utilize its tribal courts in settling disputes relating to the bonds. This is a significant milestone and confirms the predictability and legitimacy of tribal courts. It’s an important step in affirming the sovereignty of Indian nations and our credibility in entering financial transactions with third parties.
The increased tapping of public finance markets by Indian nations in a non-gaming context, particularly with top S&P ratings, highlights the developing economic opportunities in Indian Country. It’s fertile ground that can be leveraged for both Indian nations and outside capital providers. In a challenging economic climate where federal and state government bond ratings are on the decline, and good deals are hard to find, Indian Country is quickly developing as a bright investment opportunity.