Hugo Cancio: Cuba's American business connection?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:48am EST
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By David Adams

HAVANA (Reuters) - Hugo Cancio believes he's the new face of American-style entrepreneurship in Cuba.

The Cuban-born Miami resident made his mark in music, promoting Cuban and other Latino acts. His company's stock is public and a handful of investors say they're betting on him.

Cancio, 50, also publishes magazines in Havana. Telecom companies are partnering with him. U.S. cable networks, private equity funds and law firms ask for Cancio's take on the thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba announced by President Barack Obama in December.

He even got to hang out recently with American TV comedian and talk show host Conan O'Brien, who was in Havana taping an upcoming show.

Antonio Zamora, a Miami lawyer aiming to do business in Cuba, said Cancio "is way ahead of the game" in terms of Havana connections.

But there are risks. His company, Fuego Enterprises Inc FUGI.PK may trade through over-the-counter pink sheets, but it hasn't reported results for six years. The last time: in early 2009 it reported a loss and sharply declining revenues.

He's also been in and out with the Cuban authorities and had a legal scrum with the music company founded by the Beatles.

"Hugo is the best Cuba play we have and also the most speculative," said Cancio's largest investor, Thomas Herzfeld, the Miami Beach founder of the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, a Cuba-focused mutual fund. "It's not one I could recommend. The financials aren't there. But it is one I want to own."   Continued...

Cuban-born Miami businessman Hugo Cancio speaks during an interview in Coral Gables, Florida December 23, 2014. REUTERS/Javier Galeano