Sims Assists Client in Securing Investment Grade Rating and Significant Refinancing Savings
The Legacy at Willow Bend Retirement Community, Inc. (“Willow Bend” or the “Community”) is a Life Plan Community located on 24 acres approximately 20 miles north of downtown Dallas in Plano, Texas. The community consists of 12 independent living villas, 102 independent living apartments, 40 assisted living units, 18 memory care units and 60 nursing beds.
Since opening in 2008, Legacy at Willow Bend has achieved occupancy in excess of 90% across all levels of care and average occupancy of 95% as of May 31, 2016. Willow Bend consistently produced strong financial results with positive debt service coverage and a strong liquidity position with 379 days cash on hand as of the six months ending March 31, 2016.
The Legacy at Willow Bend is operated by The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. (“Legacy”). Legacy has managed skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living properties since 1952. Originally under the name Dallas Home for Jewish Aged, Inc., Legacy owned and managed Golden Acres, a skilled nursing and independent living facility, from inception until its sale in 2007. In 2007, Legacy acquired The Legacy at Preston Hollow, a skilled nursing and assisted living facility and managed it until its sale in 2016. In addition, Legacy managed ECHAD, a 200 unit elderly independent living housing complex, from its inception in 1981 until its sale in 2014.
Legacy is in the process of developing a new senior living community, Legacy at Midtown Park, that will be located in Dallas, Texas (the “Midtown Project”). In order to better fulfill Legacy’s overall mission, the Midtown Project will include rental independent living and a significant number of Medicaid nursing beds.
Engaged by Willow Bend to refinance its Series 2006 bonds, HJ Sims worked with the organization to achieve the following strategic objectives:
- Reduce Willow Bend’s overall cost of capital and annual debt service, improving operating cash flow;
- Allow Willow Bend to provide development capital for the Midtown Project to further advance Legacy’s mission; and,
- Provide more attractive financial covenants and maintain financial flexibility.
In order to meet Willow Bend’s strategic financing objectives, HJ Sims worked with the Community to produce and evaluate multiple refinancing structures and scenarios. HJ Sims performed detailed analysis of Willow Bend’s financial ratios compared to industry medians and benchmarks to determine if the Community should pursue a credit rating. HJ Sims also worked with the Community to quantify the amount of financial support Willow Bend could provide to the Midtown Project, while maintaining an attractive credit profile with strong liquidity levels.
Willow Bend elected to move forward with a fixed rate, tax-exempt bond issue (the “2016 bonds”) to refund its outstanding 2006 bonds. In addition, Legacy elected to pursue a credit rating from Fitch Ratings for the 2016 bonds. Initial verbal feedback from Fitch indicated the potential rating for the 2016 bonds was likely between a ‘BB+’ and ‘BBB-‘ rating. HJ Sims worked with Willow Bend to demonstrate significant improvement in pro forma financial performance along with the ability to generate cash to replenish liquidity after the planned capital contribution to the Midtown Project. Willow Bend was able to secure an investment grade rating of “BBB-” with a stable outlook for the 2016 bonds.
HJ Sims successfully priced the $45,355,000 refunding issue on July 12th, 2016 with an all in True-Interest-Cost of 4.10%. On a present value basis, the refunding saves Willow Bend approximately $6.285 million, or 12.4% of the par amount of the refunded bonds. On an annual basis, the refinancing saves Willow Bend over $1.5 million through the final term of the prior bonds and allows Willow Bend to provide $4.5 million in financial support to the Midtown Project.
The 2016 bonds were priced with a 7-year call option providing greater flexibility to call or refinance the bonds prior to a standard 10-year call option. Additionally, the new bond issue provides more flexible financial covenants and reporting requirements; notably, Willow Bend’s Days Cash on Hand requirement decreased from 250 days to 150 days.