BlackBerry Posts Bigger-Than-Expected Loss, Shares Slump

BlackBerry Ltd reported a bigger-than-expected second-quarter loss on Friday, as revenue from its once-iconic smartphone slid further, sending shares down nearly 4 percent in premarket trading.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it expects “modest” sequential revenue growth in the remaining two quarters of this fiscal year and a return to profitability in the fourth quarter.

Still, analysts noted revenue growth from BlackBerry’s software arm was weak. The company, whose smartphone market share has shrunk in recent years, has based its turnaround plan on selling more software.

“I’m happy to give them credit for patent licensing, but that’s not what we’re talking about in terms of high-value recurring revenue,” said CIBC analyst Todd Coupland. “Software needs to offset the services decline, and it didn’t happen this quarter, it got worse.”

Earlier this month, BlackBerry agreed to buy rival mobile software maker Good Technology for $425 million (roughly Rs. 2,809 crores). The deal is expected to help the smartphone industry pioneer win new clients for its services business, a priority as it shifts its focus to device management software for enterprise customers.

Coupland said the slower-than-expected growth in its software revenue underscored why BlackBerry needed to make the Good acquisition.

Excluding one-time items like a non-cash credit tied to the value of debentures and restructuring charges, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a quarterly loss of $66 million (roughly Rs. 436 crores), or 13 cents a share.

On that basis, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had, on average, forecast a loss of 9 cents a share.

Including the impact of the non-cash gain, in the period ended Aug. 29, it earned a net profit of $51 million (roughly Rs. 337 crores). That compared with a loss of $207 million (roughly Rs. 1,368 crores) a year earlier.

Revenue fell 46.5 percent to $490 million (roughly Rs. 3,238 crores) in the quarter, well below the average expectation of $610.6 million (roughly Rs. 4,035 crores).

Android device
The company confirmed it would release a smartphone running Google’s Android operating system. The device, named ‘the Priv,’ will be available later this year.

“Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform,” said BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen in a statement.

While the new device will provide a choice in operating systems to new and existing customers, the company said it remains committed to its own BlackBerry 10.

BlackBerry shares fell 4 percent to $6.75 (roughly Rs. 446) in early trading before the opening bell.