York financing round underway

The second round of debt financings by the country’s tertiary institutions is well underway with York University and the University of Toronto having raised capital to fund construction projects, said a report in the May 13 National Post. York is the most recent borrower. This month it closed a 40-year $100-million financing. As expected, issuers have had an easier time the second time around, said the Post. York, for example, raised 40-year money at a spread of 55 basis points higher than comparable Canada bonds, versus 70 basis points for its $200-million offering in early 2002. And the issues have ended up in the hands of fewer investors. With York, two years ago more than 20 investors participated; this time the number of investors was down considerably. But York did break new ground on this deal, the Post continued. It decided to use one underwriter, TD Securities. On its initial deal, it used two, Scotia Capital and CIBC World Markets.

Gary Brewer, York VP finance & administration, said only one dealer was used “because the nature of this deal was different from the last one. Last time it was the combination of the relative newness of universities as issuers and the size of the issue that caused us to decide to have a syndicate. This time ’round we felt we didn’t need a syndicate.” He said the underwriters on the current deal were chosen after requests for proposals were sent to the major dealers. “We look to them to provide input. And half of them indicated that given the nature of the issue, a sole [lead] manager was something that could be contemplated.”

Coffee grounds with a cause

While “fair-trade” coffee has been around since the mid-’90s, the number of brands has grown of late, as has popularity: sales surged 52 per cent last year, reported Maclean’s in its May 17 issue. “Money’s Worth” columnist Karin Marley looked at four certified brews, including York University’s sustainable Las Nubes brand sold at Timothy’s. Their taste is generally up there with the best gourmet java, concluded Marley, because the beans are shade-grown on small farms. Las Nubes coffee sells for $6.50 per half pound, has been available since April in the chain’s stores nationwide, and a dollar from the sale of every pound goes to the biological research fund at York University, money that maintains the Las Nubes rainforest in Costa Rica, reported Marley. 

York women rugby players bound for England

York University will be well represented at a five-day women’s rugby training camp underway in England, said the May 12 Metroland Papers. Thirty players have been invited to the camp and, of those, four are from this season’s York Lions. The Team Ontario women’s side is coached by Allan Hawes, who also coaches the York Lion’s women’s club, said the papers.

Former York footballers hope for the big league

Two former York football players are hoping to crack the roster of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts when the team opens training camp later this month in Mississauga, said an article in the May 12 Metroland Papers. Jeff Johnson, a running-back who is entering his fifth Canadian Football League season, and Frank Hoffmann, a defensive lineman selected by the Argos in last month’s CFL college draft, are reporting to camp this month with other rookie hopefuls.

York researcher discusses diabetes prevention

York biology Professor Gary Sweeney, in the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, is giving a talk on insulin resistance and on the role of obesity in type 2 diabetes, plus diabetes prevention and treatment, on Wednesday, May 19, at Conestoga College, reported The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo). With the growing problem of inactive, overweight young people, type 2 diabetes is beginning to show up more often in children, even though type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, and it is this aspect of the disease that Sweeney will focus on in particular.

On Air:

  • York was the star of early-morning television on May 12. City TV’s Breakfast TV program was broadcast from the Rexall Centre, the new National Tennis Centre on the York campus. Program host Jennifer Valentyne said the target date for the opening of the new facility is July 24, for Tennis Masters Canada. On hand were Richard Young, of the centre’s architectural firm Robbie Young and Wright, Ken O’Malley, senior construction manager, and Stacey Allaster, Tennis Canada VP and tournament director.