Since 1964, New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) has proudly served over 75 million people in the tri-state area and beyond. In addition to delivering lifesaving blood products, it also conducts important research in the fields of hematology, blood banking, transfusion medicine and cellular therapies — playing a vital role in both the local community and the broader healthcare ecosystem.

With such a wide and complex remit, internal synergies are key. Until recently however, NYBCe was operating out of four different buildings across the tri-state area, which meant there were opportunities for consolidation and growth. To that end, NYBCe tapped J.P. Morgan’s expertise to raise funds for the renovation of a 184,000ft2 facility in Rye, New York, which will house its different business units under one roof for the first time.

“Bringing our multiple functionalities together became crucial to the continued expansion of our mission-driven work. We needed a space that could sustain this expansion, while simultaneously building a more cohesive structure among our nearly 1,000 local employees,” said David Bench, Chief Financial Officer at NYBCe.  

“The team’s execution and professionalism has been exemplary. We are a small organization relative to the multi-billion-dollar companies J.P. Morgan works with, but we’re treated like a priority and we truly appreciate that high-touch approach.”

Supporting NYBCe’s long-term vision

By the end of 2024, the Rye campus — which had previously stood empty for years — will transform into a state-of-the-art, multipurpose facility dedicated to life sciences research, blood collections, processing, distribution, specialty laboratories and cell therapy manufacturing. It will also house NYBCe’s Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and Comprehensive Cell Solutions, furthering its legacy of innovation.

In addition, NYBCe is working to increase blood donations across the nation to address the long-term impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on youth and first-time blood donors. As such, the Rye campus will include a donor center that will serve the Westchester community.

“Investing in the life sciences and biopharmaceutical industries will secure NYBCe’s resilience in the future. Moreover, the Rye campus will provide more efficient service to hospitals throughout Westchester County, the Hudson Valley and the tri-state area,” Bench said.

Partnering with J.P. Morgan’s Public Finance team, NYBCe issued $46 million worth of tax-exempt municipal bonds through the Westchester County Local Development Corporation, at an all-in yield of 4.10%, in January 2024.

“Tax-exempt financing offers a powerful tool to fund the kind of capital improvements NYBCe was considering, at a cheaper cost than other conventional debt options. Investors are prepared to accept a lower rate of interest because they don’t have to pay tax on these investments,” explained Chris Stapleford, who helped lead the deal for the Public Finance team.

For NYBCe, flexibility was key. “To maintain the flexibility we wanted, we split the bond offering into two tranches — a 12-year tranche and a 15-year tranche. There were no significant financial covenants or excessive reporting requirements. In addition, we included a call option feature, which means we could pay back the principal amount after 10 years,” Bench explained. “The Rye campus redevelopment had a substantial price tag associated with it, so the most important element of the deal was that it kept our balance sheet intact. The dry powder we have will enable us to explore other strategic opportunities.”

While this deal marked NYBCe’s first foray into the public markets, Bench seeks to leverage his background in investment banking to pursue other strategies. “We are exploring any and all opportunities to fulfil NYBCe’s growth potential, and we are leaving no stone unturned,” he declared.

“Many of us in the New York area are familiar with NYBCe through its blood drives in our communities, but I never really appreciated how critical they are to the wider healthcare ecosystem. That’s what makes this deal so rewarding for me — educating the market on just how special this client is.”

A long-standing client relationship  

NYBCe’s bond offering was oversubscribed by more than eight times, which Bench described as “a huge demonstration of support by the institutional community.” He credited the deal’s resounding success to the strong relationship between NYBCe and J.P. Morgan, that dates back many years. “We had an excellent client experience. The team’s execution and professionalism has been exemplary — they held our hands throughout the whole process, providing weekly touchpoints to ensure we were honing in on the correct areas,” he shared. “We are a small organization relative to the multi-billion-dollar companies J.P. Morgan works with, but we’re treated like a priority and we truly appreciate that high-touch approach.”

Bench also lauded J.P. Morgan’s deep commitment to the overall healthcare ecosystem. Today, J.P. Morgan has over 300 bankers dedicated to the healthcare industry and collaborates with over 440 institutions across various sub-verticals, including non-profits like NYBCe. In addition, the firm has partnered with NYBCe since 1999 to host quarterly blood donation drives at its conference sites in New York City, facilitating 3,000 blood donations since 2016. “Seeing that J.P. Morgan has a big focus on supporting non-profits that are mission-driven and that give back to society — I think that’s a great thing, and that’s one of the reasons why we chose J.P. Morgan as our banking partner,” he noted.

In the same vein, Stapleford highlighted the integral role NYBCe plays in the broader industry. “Many of us in the New York area are familiar with NYBCe through its blood drives in our communities, but I never really appreciated how critical it is to the wider healthcare system,” he added. “That’s what makes this deal so rewarding for me — educating the market on just how special this client is.”

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