Tags: Castro-Cuba | Leon Cooperman | Cuba | Investing | Omega

Omega's Leon Cooperman: Cuba Is 'Very Far Down on My List' for Investing

By    |   Wednesday, 17 December 2014 05:32 PM

While the U.S. government's decision Wednesday to resume full diplomatic relations with Cuba stirred starry-eyed talk of investment potential in the Caribbean nation, hedge fund star Leon Cooperman, CEO of Omega Advisors, is skeptical.

He told CNBC he doesn't have "any particular interest" in investing there. "That's very far down on my list," Cooperman said. Further up his list are opportunities in developed countries.

To be sure, both Cuba and the United States have "a lot to gain" from the resumption of diplomatic relations, he said. "Hopefully we'll succeed in turning them [Cuba] around."

The Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, one of the few ways to make investments related to Cuba, soared 25 percent Wednesday, after President Obama announced the 50-year diplomatic embargo is ending.

The stock of Spain's Melia Hotels International, which runs 27 hotels in Cuba, soared 5.6 percent Wednesday.

The island nation of 11 million people, about the same size as Ohio, has long had a hankering for U.S. products, John Kavulich, a senior policy adviser at the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, told Bloomberg.

"What’s attracted U.S. companies from before the revolution, through the revolution to today is there’s an incredibly high awareness for U.S. brand names," he said. That lowers the cost for U.S. companies to enter the market by reducing their marketing needs.

But U.S. companies shouldn't get too excited, as Cuban consumers don't have much spending money, Kavulich said. "No one should be holding their breath for the Havana-Mac."

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While the U.S. government's decision Wednesday to resume full diplomatic relations with Cuba stirred starry-eyed talk of investment potential in the Caribbean nation, hedge fund star Leon Cooperman, CEO of Omega Advisors, is skeptical.
Leon Cooperman, Cuba, Investing, Omega
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2014-32-17
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 05:32 PM
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