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Puerto Rico water authority, an essential utility, returns to capital markets 8 years later

It’s part of an effort by the U.S. territory’s government to restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt.

One of Puerto Rico’s most essential utilities company has returned to the capital markets for the first time in eight years.

The comeback took place Thursday after government officials in the U.S. territory announced the issuance of $1.4 billion worth of bonds. Officials said they refinanced bonds initially issued by the island’s Water and Sewer Authority in 2008.

The move comes as part of an effort by the Puerto Rican government to restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt.

"This is excellent and hopeful news for the Water and Sewer Authority and for Puerto Rico. Our government has worked hard so that the public corporation returns to the markets as part of Puerto Rico's economic recovery, and today it is a reality," Gov. Wanda Vázquez said in a statement in Spanish.

Doriel Pagán Crespo, president of the Water and Sewer Authority, said officials expect to achieve an estimated $13 million in annual savings in debt service, in order to reduce the state-owned company’s operational deficits or finance capital improvement projects.

In 2015, Puerto Rico’s government declared it was unable to pay its public debt. Two years later, the U.S. territory filed for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history.

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