Sherritt shares plunge on earnings miss from low cobalt prices, Cuba issues

Sherritt shares plunge on earnings miss from low cobalt prices, Cuba issues
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TORONTO — Shares of Sherritt International Corp. were down more than 15 per cent after the company reported disappointing earnings blamed on low cobalt prices and complications in Cuba.

The Toronto-based miner reported a net loss of $61.8 million for the first quarter, compared with a net loss of $600,000 for the same quarter last year.

On an adjusted basis, the company lost $54.9 million or 14 cents per share in its most recent quarter compared with an adjusted loss of $14.8 million or four cents per share a year ago. Analysts had expected a loss of eight cents per share according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The losses came after the company saw cobalt prices, which had run up on speculation of increased demand from the battery sector and supply disruptions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fall 70 per cent year over year.

The Cuban government also paid out less of the foreign reserves it owes the company than expected, leaving a significant backlog of payments as the country feels the squeeze from increased U.S.-imposed restrictions.

Earlier this month, the U.S. said it would no longer suspend parts of the Helms-Burton Act, which could allow lawsuits against foreign companies connected to properties seized from American firms during the Cuban revolution.

Sherritt maintains that it has been preparing for the act since it was first passed in 1996 and has no financial exposure to the U.S.

Companies in this story: (TSX:S)

The Canadian Press

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