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Ohio Sells $100 Million to Spur Technology Research: Muni Deals

Ohio is selling $100 million of general-obligation securities to finance technology businesses and research as the state’s bonds trail the broader $3.7 trillion municipal market.

The state this week is offering the tax-exempt munis under its Third Frontier Research and Development program, which was created in 2002 to boost jobs through technology research and innovation projects. The proceeds will provide grants for biomedical, engineering and physical-science technology-based economic development, according to bond documents.

The Buckeye State has already sold $461 million of debt for the program, said Larry Scurlock, assistant secretary at the Ohio Public Facilities Commission. Voters had authorized $1.2 billion in borrowings, leaving the state able to sell about $640 million after this week’s offer, he said from Columbus.

“We believe investors are comfortable with this credit,” Scurlock said.

The issuer is also offering $10 million of taxable bonds this week that will go toward higher-education facilities, including 14 state universities and six medical colleges, bond documents say.

The debt is rated Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service, second-highest. The ratings company says the state has strong financial management and an economy that is moving toward a greater reliance on non-manufacturing jobs.

Ohio debt is earning about 1.2 percent this year, trailing the 1.4 percent return of the broader muni market, Standard & Poor’s indexes show.

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