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President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown is making the bonds of some deserted prisons valuable again.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly last week directed federal immigration and customs officials to “take all necessary action and allocate all available resources to expand their detention capabilities and capacities at or near the border with Mexico."
The directive could be a boon to investors in mothballed prison facilities in Texas and Arizona: in its aftermath, their thinly traded, deeply depressed bonds have soared. Holders of defaulted prison debt have a much better shot at repayment now that President Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration appears to have intensified interest among potential purchasers of the facilities.
An investor who paid $7,650 for $100,000 worth of Willacy County, Texas, prison bonds that changed hands at a deep discount in December could make an almost $60,000 profit by selling them now, based on trades tracked Friday by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.
There is about $1.1 billion in outstanding high-yield jail or prison bond debt, sold by 28 municipal issuers, according to the firm. The bonds represent a tiny corner of the $3.8 trillion municipal market.
Bonds issued to build the Jones County prison in Texas jumped to nearly 60 cents on the dollar last week from about 12 cents in December, according to MSRB data.
The bond rally is only the latest good news for prison investors. On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked an Obama administration directive to phase out contracts with for-profit prison operators. Stocks in private prison companies extended a rally that began with Mr. Trump’s November election.
Since election day, shares in CoreCivic Inc. have climbed 140% and those in GEO Group Inc. have doubled.
“There’s material opportunity for private prisons to expand their capacity,” said analyst Michael Kodesch of Canaccord Genuity.
Full piece: https://www.wsj.com/articles/prison-bond...1488287049
|02-28-2017 10:12 AM