Against the backdrop of U.S. President Donald Trump laying out a deluge of new restrictions to constrict ties between the U.S. and Cuba following ex-President Barack Obama loosening restrictions, Cuba Ventures Corp. (TSX-V:CUV)(OTCBB:MPSFF) deepened its investment in travel business to the country from the U.S.
On Thursday, the Vancouver-based company said it acquired a 19% interest in International Business & Travel Opportunities, LLC. IBTO is a cash-flow positive, fully licensed and bonded, Florida-based travel agency specializing in travel to Cuba.
After years of contention and commerce bans between the U.S. and Cuba, Obama opened the travel gates late in his time in the Oval Office, allowing U.S. citizens to make their way to Cuba via 12 different license categories.
Lifting of restrictions resulted in businesses like airlines, cruises, hotels and travel sites rushing to offer services to the Caribbean island nation. Trump's new regulations limit the ways Americans can go to Cuba, making it only possible as part of a travel group for educational reasons. IBTO specializes in trips to Cuba based upon compliance with regulations.
More succinctly, the company is focused on group trips for educational and cultural purposes, keeping within the parameters of the Trump administration's guidelines. Travel packages, flights, cruises, etc. are offered across 432 proprietary Cuba-centric websites catering to what the company claims are over 13 million annual U.S. web visitors.
To buy the stake, Cuba Ventures paid C$10,000 in cash and issued 500,000 shares of CUV, priced at a Canadian nickel each, or C$25,000. Excluding the C$10,000, which was earmarked for transaction expenses, the purchase price implies a C$131,579 value in total for IBTO.