Targeting East African Expansion

After a merger or acquisition, it can be tough for a company to get back on its feet. Changes in management styles and differing corporate cultures can slow production and create tension.

But newly acquired Nova Energy, Inc isn’t letting any of those things stop them. With a new CEO at the controls, the Carson City, NV based exploration-stage oil and gas recovery company has big goals. The company plans to follow several lines of business in the growing East African economy, beginning in Kenya. In fact, Nova has already started several initiatives in the region, including forays into the technology, utility, housing and health products industries.

Strong Leadership, Big plans

Although he was just appointed on February 9, Nova Energy’s new CEO, retired Major General and former Chairman of the Dallas Federal Reserve Hugh G. Robinson, has already installed a new business strategy. In addition to plans to eventually change the firm’s name, Robinson hopes to expand and improve the company’s current East African market.

In the technology sector, he plans to acquire a Kenyan systems integration firm to provide a base of operations locally, and in the utilities market negotiations are already underway to support a wireless meter reading pilot solution for local authority. In the health sector, the company hopes to acquire manufacturing capability, including a nearly completed plant.

Nova Energy also plans to tap into Kenya’s growing housing market. The country is expected to need 50,000 new homes a year, and Nova has negotiations in place to build affordable singe family homes as well as provide financing.

“I anticipate 2010 will be a foundation building year for Nova Energy in Africa. I am confident that Nova will complete two to three acquisitions this year and report meaningful revenue, demonstrating the long-term potential of Nova. I have every expectation that Nova’s business operations will expand rapidly and extend well beyond Kenya,” said Robinson in a letter to shareholders.

And with such grand plans on the horizon, there is no better man to have at the helm than Robinson. In addition to his distinguished career in the United States Army and his position as Chairman of the Dallas Federal Reserve, Robinson also served as President Lyndon Johnson’s military aide de camp and has extensive executive management experience having held senior positions at Southland Corporation and City Place Development Corporation.

A graduate of West Point with a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robinson is also on the board of Carmax, Inc., the LBJ Foundation and the Better Business Bureau in addition to his role as CEO of Nova Energy.

Key Partnerships

In conjunction with Robinson’s appointment as CEO, Nova also became part of the NewMarket Technology, Inc. Greenfield Partnership Program. NewMarket provides systems integration, technology infrastructure services and emerging technology worldwide and uses its Greenfield Partnership Program to speed up the introduction of new technologies into emerging markets around the world. This makes Nova a perfect partnership.

“NewMarket has been working for the past two years to prepare for operations in East Africa,” said Robinson, currently a member of the NewMarket board. “I have had the opportunity to meet personally with the local government in Nairobi. The first project opportunities are already signed under letters of intent.”

“I have met with investors prepared to finance our first project opportunities, and Nova’s updated and expanded business plan is the home that has been established for these first project opportunities. Within the NewMarket Greenfield Partnership Program and with NewMarket’s two years of preparation work, Nova is staged for rapid changes and developments,” he stated.

With so many exciting operations coming up, Nova and NewMarket are utilizing diverse marketing strategies to get news about their updated business strategy to the investing community. The company recently hosted a webcast which detailed Robinson’s appointment and the new business strategy.

Funding Your Business – Alternative Sources of Finance

Given current reports in the media about the lack of funding available to SME’s (small and medium sized businesses), you’d be forgiven for thinking that financing the development of your business is almost impossible. However, this is not quite the case – with the correct approach there are alternatives that can pave the way to a more flourishing future.

For example, in the East of England area, Finance East Loan Management Limited has now committed in excess of £3.3m in loans to thrity SMEs. Funded by the EEDA, the Regional Growth Loan Scheme is available to local limited companies with a minimum turnover of £500k, and which can demonstrate a requirement for long-term investment to deliver the strong development potential that they are showing.

“We are well into our 2nd year of existence and it’s clear from the number of approaches we are receiving that there is significant demand for the type of loan facility we are offering,” explains Stuart Ager, Senior Fund Manager at Finance East. “In an economy that seems very patchy at present, the lending environment remains tight for growth orientated SMEs and we continually meet driven management teams who have strategies and market opportunity to expand, but cannot do so because of lack of finance – that is the role of the Regional Growth Loan Scheme – to provide a level of funding that will enable a business to move forward and add to the economic development of this region.”

The EEDA Regional Growth Loan Scheme fills the gap between conventional debt and equity funding. It can be a stand-alone funding source, but is complementary to other sources of finance such as traditional bank borrowing. The loans are typically of amounts between £50k and £200k, paid in tranches, and repaid over terms of between two and five years. The interest rate offered varies between 5-9% over the base rate, depending on the risk level, while security is typically mortgage debenture, and also subject to a risk assessment.

As with any finance application, the key to success is a clear business strategy that can deliver the forecast growth, outlined in a detailed business plan. You will need to:

Identify the ways in which funding will best support your short and long term business goals
Get your company’s financial statistics ready with detailed breakdowns of past performance, current status and forecast activity
Provide you with relevant market intelligence that shows how you compare favourably against competitors
Help you optimise your management structure
Single out the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that have positive impacts on your business to demonstrate that you are a proactive, professional organisation.

Car Consumers Should ‘Shop Around’ For Finance Deals

Despite further pressure on their personal finances, demand for new cars is rising among Britons, new figures reveal.

According to the Deals on Wheels report by the AA, interest in new registration vehicles has risen by 22 per cent during the past year in spite of five base rate rises by the Bank of England since August 2006. A third (33 per cent) of drivers are looking to buy a new automobile over the next 12 months, in comparison to the 26 per cent recorded in the same time last year.

The financial services provider also pointed to statistics showing that the real cost of cars had decreased by 26 per cent over the last ten years, figures which were suggested to be “impacting people’s decisions to make an investment in new wheels”.

In comparison, the second-hand car market was shown to have fallen over recent months. Currently, just over a third (36 per cent) of respondents are planning to get a car which is less than three years old – a fall of 16 percentage points from the 44 per cent recorded in a study taken at the start of 2007.

Reliability and mechanical problems are the main factor pushing demand for new cars, accounting for 32 per cent of people surveyed. Concerns over running costs of vehicles make up 28 per cent of consumers’ reasons to get a brand new automobile, compared to environmental worries which stand at 18 per cent.

Commenting on the figures, Lloyd East, head of AA Personal Loans, said: “As interest rates rise, UK consumers are beginning to tighten their purse strings. But our research shows strong consumer demand for new registration cars ahead of September 1st. This suggests that reasons for buying a car are not only influenced by price at purchase.”

And with about a third of those planning on getting a car set to take out personal loans or showroom finance deal to fund their purchase, Mr East suggested that more people are becoming increasingly concerned about the running costs and the practicality of their cars. “With interest rates rising, the cost of buying a car on finance is increasing and it is therefore essential that people intending to buy a new or used car shop around for the best deal before heading for the forecourt,” he added.

Those in Scotland were revealed to be “keeping their foot on the accelerator” when it comes to buying a car as 41 per cent of consumers in the region are aiming on getting a new vehicle over the coming year. This compares to some 26 per cent of residents in the south of England.

Overall, older Britons are driving the new car market as 52 per cent of those over the age of 55 are set to make such a purchase. Meanwhile, a fifth of 25 to 34-year-olds are looking to do so, as younger people are reported to be much more likely to buy a used automobile.

Earlier this month, Tim Moss, head of loans for moneysupermarket, claimed that those considering buying a new 57 registration car in September could be “taken for a ride” if they choose an uncompetitive finance product. The price comparison website suggested that consumers opting for a showroom deal instead of a cheap personal loan could collectively be paying £140 million in extra interest payments.

Retail Banking Trends in the Middle East in 2015

The Middle East market with the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – to name the most important – is a special one.

Customers in this region are used to receive an excellent service. Banks need to take care of this.

One way to try to attract and satisfy customers is the permanent investment into the latest available technology on the banking and finance market.

More important than ever is the marketing point of view towards the market. Retail banks need to get media coverage to get customers attention. To obtain this they try to implement new features and even gadgets to be one step beyond their competitors.

This could be a fancy new application for smartphones or new functions to facilitate the daily bank account maintenance.

Digital banking is for sure one of the hottest topics in 2015, we can clearly observe this trend in the last 6 month of this year. The customers are paying more and more attention to get everything done on their smartphones so mobile banking is very important too.

Besides all the interest in mobile banking the banks in the Middle East are maintaining and increasing their network of brick-and-mortar branches in 2015.

Branches and especially flagship branches are important brand ambassadors. They need to be modern and stuffed with the latest available technology under the hood and visible to the customer to showcase the bank wants to be a technical and innovative market leader.

Branches are also important for the private and wealth banking. These segments need to be taken care of in a special way. The more customers are wealthy the better banks are caring about making them happy.

In the Middle East this is more important than in other regions as we all know.

Even if we can observe a global trend to find the “next big thing” speaking about big data we can remark that in the region banks still like to invest into this model to analyse their customers behaviour to try to bind them stronger to their brands by the different outcomes of the filtered big data flow.

One of the goals is to make it very convenient to manage the financial affairs by making it simple and easy for the customer to handle them.

An example for this concept is the way one can open an account in Saudi Arabia. You just visit a branch and you are all set. This means you will be able to open the account, and at the same time the bank will instantly issue your bank card.

There is no need to wait for a letter or to pick up the card later.

This could be done by Video Teller Machines even 24/7. After the KYC (Know Your Customer) procedure certain models of these machines can instantly issue the card too. The whole procedure can be assisted by a remote teller connected to the VTM via video conferencing technology.

Internet banking has to be reviewed because it is considered not easy enough use compared to smartphone based mobile banking in 2015. An application on a mobile device is much easier and more convenient to understand and to manage than using classical internet banking where you need to sit in front of a computer.

Banks in the Middle East are aware of this and keen to apply new technologies to keep the customers happy and loyal to their brand.

Mobile, digital banking is used for new marketing methods. Beacon technology seems not to be that interesting as thought. Using the customer’s device to penetrate it via the different social channels is one example of digital marketing.

The new generation of ATMs and VTMs have bigger screens, the VTMs (Video Teller Machines) often offer even two large screens ( around 21″ – 22″ ) which are used for digital signage when there is no customer using them.

Video Teller Machines are welcomed in the Middle East. They are offering tons of new possibilities like 24/7 remote teller operated banking, cross selling via product specialists operating from the banks call center. This means they can be virtually everywhere be present where the banks are operating their VTMs.

Mortgage Note Buyers On the East Coast Can Close Fast On Your Note

If you are looking for mortgage note buyers on the East Coast, you’re not alone. The East Coast has always been an area with higher education levels than the rest of the country, which translates into higher incomes and, consequently, higher real estate property values.

Many pieces of real estate, whether it be your residential home, or a commercial property, are sold via seller financing.

Seller financing is a powerful way of selling real estate because it opens up your property to a larger segment of the market since there is no bank involved. The seller carries the note, and receives payments. The seller also assumes the risk of the note, which includes the payor of the note defaulting.

Many circumstances can arise which will cause a note holder to look for a mortgage note buyer on the East Coast.

Maybe you want to fund a new business venture. Maybe you need the money to put a child through college, or you have a medical emergency. Perhaps you are just sick of the hassle of the endless paperwork you are required to keep on your note. Or maybe you are just worried constantly because you have to live with the risk of being the note holder, and know that the person making payments on your note could default at any time.

Professional mortgage note buyers on the East Coast may be interested in buying your note. Just make sure that you indeed have a mortgage note to sell.

One common mistake people make is to look for a mortgage note buyer on the East Coast when they don’t even have a note to sell! What we mean is that many people are actually trying to sell their property and relieve themselves of the mortgage they have with a bank.

The true way to determine if you actually have a note to sell is to just follow this simple test: if you are receiving payments on a note, then you have a potential note to sell. If, on the other hand, you are making payments on a note (such as to a bank on a mortgage) then you don’t have a note to sell; you have a property to sell.

Having said this, if you are serious about finding a mortgage note buyer on the East Coast, you should be aware that location is not an issue. You may think that since you live on the East Coast you can only do business with a note buyer who is also on the East Coast. This is simply not the case.

A professional note buyer can be located anywhere in the country and be able to buy notes anywhere in the country as well. A phone, fax, and proper documents are all a note buyer needs to be able to buy your note.

So, rather than get hung up on the notion you need mortgage note buyers on the East Coast, you should be instead shopping around for the most competent, knowledgeable note buyer who will explain your options clearly and make a strong offer for your note.