Woody Vaughn
Woody Vaughn (File photo)

Big bond issues for the state of Georgia and MARTA made Holland & Knight the top Southeastern bond counsel for the first six months of the year, with $1.46 billion in sales.

Holland & Knight partner Woody Vaughan and senior counsel Allison Dyer in Atlanta advised the state on the No. 1 debt offering for the period, according to Thompson Reuters: a $982.9 million issue of general obligation bonds on June 17. Vaughan said the issue financed capital projects for several state agencies, mostly K-12 education.

They represented MARTA on two offerings totaling $386.7 million, for capital improvements to the transit system and to refinance existing commercial paper notes.

Florida-based Holland & Knight recruited Vaughan and Dyer from King & Spalding in February to gain a Georgia public finance practice. Vaughan said the state of Georgia and MARTA were clients that followed him to his new firm.

Georgia was the only one of the 11 Southeastern states to increase bond sales compared with the first half of 2013, by 4.7 percent to $3.08 billion. The city of Atlanta was the period’s No. 2 Georgia issuer with $867.5 million in offerings, mostly to refinance Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport bonds, according to The Bond Buyer.

Holland & Knight was the top Georgia bond counsel ($1.37 billion), followed by Hunton & Williams ($515.1 million), Haley Law Firm ($423.2 million), Murray Barnes Finister ($180.5 million) and Kutak Rock ($177.1 million), according to Thompson Reuters. Overall, Southeastern bond issues were down 31.4 percent, totaling $21.78 billion.

Vaughan predicted a decrease in volume for the second half of the year: “A lot of the refunding transactions that might have come to market have already been done … when rates were low.” New projects, such as infrastructure, tend to decrease in an election year, he said.