Category Archives: Economy

Brits Turn to Energy-Saving Alternatives as Fuel Prices Continue to Skyrocket

As recent predictions showed that energy bills in England would rise 80% by the end of October, Brits have been thinking outside the box for warm food and heating.

According to GfK’s market research, sales of certain electrical appliances have soared. People have been on the hunt for energy-saving tactics and products to avoid a major increase in their utility bill. The sale of hot air fryers was up 286% last month as compared to September last year, as the portable devices heat up faster and consume significantly less energy than conventional ovens.  In a similar vein, pressure cookers and slow cookers rose 79% compared to last year. As reported by Uswitch.com, these small kitchen machines cost about half of what an electrical oven costs to run – while an average slow cooker costs 13 cents per hour of use, a conventional oven costs 24 cents.

In addition to scrounging to save on cooking techniques, British citizens are thinking of alternative methods to keep warm as winter approaches. Sales of electric blankets have jumped 216% since last September.

As the average yearly household energy bill in England rose 96% percent since last October, the government has stepped in and put a cap on electricity and gas costs for the coming two years. Later, however, new finance minister Jeremy Hunt announced that the cap would be relevant until April only for most households.

When the climbing fuel prices will stabilize is truly up in the air. In the meantime, savvy British residents are managing to do the necessary calculations and adjust their standard of living accordingly

Record High for Rentals in Manhattan

Have you always dreamed of living in the big city? Now may not be the time.

For the sixth month in a row, apartment rental prices in Manhattan have reached a record high. With the median rate last month at $4,150 per month, rentals have climbed 2.5% since June and a whopping 29% from just one year ago. Renters are currently shelling out an average of $5,113 per month.

According to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants, rent prices are expected to soar even higher this month as August is generally peak season. It is unclear what to expect from September, though. If the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates with the hope to curb inflation, the possibility of a recession will become more of a reality. In this situation, layoffs would be expected and demand for Manhattan rentals may decline, which would likely result in an ease on prices. However, Miller expects that rent prices will continue to climb till the year’s end, perhaps at a slower rate.

While rentals are in high demand, the dream of many to become homeowners is being put on hold. Rising mortgage rates are making the possibility of buying now impossible for many. With the current average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage now at 5.81%, families are opting out. With less buyers, the rental market is seeing extra added pressure, contributing to the increase in rates.

As the economy continues fluctuate in so many areas, the housing market will swing along accordingly. With the end of year gradually approaching, it will be interesting to see what develops. As Miller has asserted, “…it is going to come down to external factors like unemployment and hard landing to see what happens next.”

PepsiCo Will Open Its Largest US Facility

In a time where unemployment is on the rise, news about companies expanding or opening new facilities is exciting. Last week, PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA) announced it will be opening a massive manufacturing facility in the Denver High Point development zone. The 152-acre area will house a 1.2 million-square-foot factory, creating an estimated 250 jobs.

The company has set high standards for the new facility. The plant is slated to reach 100% renewable energy, achieve top quality water efficiency, and minimize use of plastic. It is expected to be the largest and most sustainable PepsiCo plant in the US.

In a statement put out by the president of PBNA’s West Division, Johannes Evenblij expressed his excitement over the plans and appreciation for its location. He stated, “We’re thrilled to call Denver, a city that shares so many of our values, home to PepsiCo’s most sustainable US plant location. With the High Point facility serving (as) a model for the future of PBNA’s supply chain, we’re eager to continue deepening our dedication to Colorado through positive impacts such as new job opportunities and more sustainable business solutions.”

The combination of new employment prospects with efficient and healthy business practices yields positive opportunities for growth. It will be exciting to follow the progress of PepsiCo’s newest endeavor.

What Mohamed Amersi is saying about the Telia deal

Mohamed Amersi
Mohamed Amersi

Mohamed Amersi is generally unknown in Sweden, but in the 2010s he was a legendary dealmaker in the emerging markets of Eurasia. For several years, Telia hired Amersi and his company to facilitate the company’s investments in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Russia, and Uzbekistan. 

As background, Amersi says “I have a long experience of doing M&A business in emerging markets. In Latin America for Telefonica, in the Middle East for Etisalat, Oredoo and Zain, in Africa for Etisalat, MTN and Zain, in Russia for Veon to name a few clients. In total, I have participated in transactions corresponding to approximately 1,000 billion Swedish Kronas.” Within these deals, Amersi provided both legal expertise and input from his corporate, finance, private equity, and venture capital experience.

“At the time of Telia’s business in Eurasia, the company had ambitions to become a global player in telecoms, primarily through acquisitions in emerging markets. To succeed in this,” Amersi explains,  “a successful acquisition strategy was required. At that time, the two merging companies – Swedish Telia and Finnish Sonera – already had a presence in Eurasia through the operators Megafon, Turkcell, and Fintur. But the competence of the merged company needed to be strengthened to be able to continue to acquire and manage operators in Eurasia.” As Amersi attests, he is arguably the only person who could both handle the M&A directly, “and had insight into the local culture and could work both sustainably and profitably.”

Amersi reiterates that Telia Sonera was also interested in finding and acquiring operators in other emerging markets. That is why his company was hired for an ongoing role in advisement to merge Swedish-Finnish company. Ultimately, the merger was meant to bring Telia new operators outside of Eurasia, with expansions in emerging countries such as Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Iran, and Ethiopia.

It was precisely Amersi’s cultural litheness and familiarity that allowed him to make valuable contributions to the Telia merger process. To Amersi, his role was “about general advice, resolving ownership disputes, understanding local regulatory issues and not least evaluating and concluding agreements with local partners.” These local partners, says Amersi, are often quite powerful and wealthy; their support is key to making any deal.

“But unlike what has been described in the press, it is not about bribes at all. It is crucial that the deal is started in the right way. It must be made clear to the responsible authorities, regulatory units and other authorities and parties that there will be no bribes.” 

Mohamed Amersi

Toward that end, Amersi adds that the collaboration with prominent local partners must be fully established and clarified from the very beginning. This allows for clearly described roles and responsibilities,” as well as clear payment flows. Amersi also says that local partners must be required to co-own the merged entity, giving them a financial stake (and risk) that come with the co-ownership. Amersi’s insistence on the local partners is in fact built on the principle that “value creation in the merged business that profits and dividends can be made. Not through bribes. It is in collaboration with a weak partner that corruption most often occurs.”

Furthermore, Amersi insists that a culture of giving back must be inherent in any merger process. “It is about creating local jobs, education and skills development locally, and not trying to minimize taxes, but paying full local tax.”

Mohamed Amersi

As for his involvement with Telia, Amersi clarifies “My role in this transaction was of a technical nature…I was asked as an advisor to make a check of the valuation made of Telia’s finance function and to be helpful in developing an optimal structure for the transaction. In addition to my assignment, Telia had hired world-leading lawyers with recognized good competence and experience in negotiating and drafting agreements, as well as conducting audits and due diligence.  I, therefore, did not participate in the negotiations themselves or directly in the implementation of the deal or in any part of the review and due diligence.”

Ultimately, it is clear from the investigations and a conversation with Amersi that not a single error was found, or any remark made.  Telia’s auditors also reviewed the relationship between the companies.  Amersi is a man of truth, integrity, and respect; these are his keywords for trust and transactions of all kinds.

Travelers Face Soaring Airfares

With the shining sun and Covid restrictions letting up, Americans are eagerly booking vacations and flights for the upcoming summer months. Tired of regulations and staying at home, people are excited for a newfound freedom they’ve missed. Together with the enthusiasm to travel, experts warn of increasingly hefty airfares.

According to the Associated Press, the expected number of travelers this summer is higher than in pre-pandemic times. Prices of domestic flights are selling at rates 24% higher than during this season in 2019 and 45% more than this time last year. Similarly, international flights are going for 10% more than in 2019.

So, why the drastic increase?

According to airlines, there are a few factors. First and foremost is the rise in jet fuel prices. Additionally, there are fewer flights available for booking and many travelers interested in purchasing tickets. In the words of Hayley Berg, an economist for Hopper, “We have more travelers looking to book fewer seats, and each of those seats is going to be more expensive for airlines to fly this summer because of jet fuel.” Lastly, there is a major decrease in staff numbers in comparison to before the pandemic, and this often results in canceled flights.

Bottom line: If you are eager to make up for missed time during the Covid-19 restrictions, go for it – but be prepared to pay the price!