TORONTO — Shares in Toronto-based resource company Sherritt International Corp. (TSX:S), the largest foreign investor in Cuba, jumped almost 25 per cent Monday amid moves by the Obama administration to ease U.S. restrictions on the island.
The White House said Monday it would allow Americans to make unlimited trips and money transfers to their families in Cuba, and eased other restrictions.
The announcement sent Sherritt’s stock soaring 79 cents or 24.5 per cent to close at $4.02 in heavy trading of 8.8 million shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
However, Obama is keeping the decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba in place, arguing that the policy provides leverage to pressure the regime to free all political prisoners as a step toward normalized relations with the U.S.
Desjardins Securities analyst John Hughes said that even though Monday’s announcement has no impact on U.S. trade with Cuba, it is a “positive first step.”
He added that even if Obama doesn’t immediately move to loosen trade barriers, American investors are responding to the idea that they could soon find themselves free to invest in companies with Cuban assets.
Sherritt produces approximately two-thirds of Cuba’s oil and also owns a 50 per cent interest in the Moa nickel and cobalt joint venture, which includes mining, processing and refining operations.