- Title: Canada's Sherritt eyes profit for Cuban nickel venture
- Date: 17th November 2016
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SUNRISE OVER INDUSTRIAL AREA VARIOUS OF INFRASTRUCTURE FROM SHERRITT WITH CUBAN AND CANADIAN FLAGS
- Embargoed: 2nd December 2016 23:49
- Keywords: mining Cuba nickel Canada Sherritt
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Commodities Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA00158U4SOZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Sherritt International Corp's joint nickel venture in Cuba will return to profit next year if prices for the metal sustain themselves at the current level, the Canadian mining company's head said in an interview.
Speaking at Sherritt's office in Havana, Chief Executive David Pathe said the price, which has risen around 20 percent this year from multi-year lows, could even improve given global nickel supplies were expected to swing into deficit.
If the trend continues the Canadian company is forecasting profit on its Cuban venture.
"If prices can sustain where we are now, we will be EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) positive at these prices with some upside in 2017," he said.
A Reuters poll released last week showed that analysts expected the average price of nickel would indeed hover around current levels of around $11,000 a tonne in 2017.
Nickel is essential in the production of stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant alloys. Beyond its Cuba venture, Sherritt also has a stake in a large Madagascar nickel mine," added Pathe.
The Canadian company has been operating in Communist-ruled Cuba for more than two decades and says it is the most vested foreign investor on the island.
Sherritt has been focused in recent years on improving efficiency in existing businesses rather than undertaking new projects in Cuba, he said.
And with overtures between the United States and Cuba to improve relations, Pathe believes a lifting of the American embargo on Havana will be good for their business.
"I think as and when that happens (embargo is lifted) -- and you can speculate as to when that might be-- it will be good for us, in that it will give us access to U.S. suppliers and access to U.S. markets for the products. I think it would also help demystify our assets, I think there are people who perhaps perceive the political risks of our assets being higher than it actually is because of the noise in the Cuban-American relationship," he told Reuters.
U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has criticised President Barack Obama's moves towards improving ties with Cuba.
But earlier this week, Canada's PM Justin Trudeau said whatever US policy under Trump that Ottawa will keep close ties with Havana.
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