Hawkins served as bond counsel to Cone Health in connection with the issuance of approximately $540.2 million of bonds and related restructuring of debt. With more than more than 150 locations, including five hospitals, four ambulatory care centers, three outpatient surgery centers, six urgent care centers, three nursing homes and more than 120 physician practices in North Carolina, Cone Health is one of North Carolina’s largest and most comprehensive health networks.
An initial series of tax-exempt bonds was issued in 2022 with the objective of providing Cone Health with new money capital and modernizing an existing master trust indenture. Hawkins was instrumental in drafting a new master trust indenture, which needed certain consents to become effective immediately.
In February 2023, five additional series of tax-exempt bonds were issued for the benefit of Cone Health. Proceeds of the 2023 bonds were used to refund seven prior bond/taxable note issues. Four of the five series of 2023 bonds were issued as variable rate bonds, secured by direct pay letters of credit. Hawkins worked closely with the rating agencies and other members of the financing team to structure the variable rate bond transactions in a manner which would result in “dual long-term ratings” of “AAA” by Fitch and “AAA/AA+” by S&P.
In addition, Hawkins helped secure necessary consents for the new master trust indenture. As a result of the transaction, Cone Health’s master trust indenture was able to spring into place following the issuance of the 2023 bonds.
Furthermore, the Hawkins team worked through a myriad of tax issues with Cone Health with respect to the refunding of many previous series of bonds.
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