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BlackBerry reports smaller-than-expected loss; revenue falls

Sep 26, 2014 11:46 AM EDT

BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) (BBRY.O) reported a much smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Friday and said it was concentrating on growth and investments, even as concerns about weak revenue linger.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company, which is pivoting to focus more on software and services as part of a drawn-out turnaround, also reported a huge number of conversions onto its heavily promoted new mobile device management platform.

"Broadly speaking, they're doing the right things ... but that revenue number is getting real small," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis.

John Chen, who became BlackBerry's chief executive officer in November, is "coming up to one year (in the job), and it's still declining by big numbers," Gillis said.

Chen has moved rapidly to cut costs, sell certain assets and strengthen the company's balance sheet. He has said however, that any revenue growth is only likely to begin in 2015, with the sales of new products and services.

Analysts and investors were still skeptical. BlackBerry shares, which jumped briefly following news of the smaller-than-expected loss, were down 2 percent at $9.60 in trading before the market opened.

QUARTERLY RESULTS

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net loss of $207 million, or 39 cents per share, for the second quarter ended Aug. 30. That compared with a year-earlier loss of $965 million, or $1.84 per share.

Excluding one-time items such as charges for restructuring and a change in the fair value of debentures, the loss was 2 cents a share. On that basis, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S were expecting a 16-cent loss.

"Our workforce restructuring is now complete, and we are focusing on revenue growth with judicious investments to further our leadership position in enterprise mobility and security," Chen said in a statement.

Revenue fell more than 40 percent to $916 million from a year earlier. While it increased from the prior quarter in North America, it slipped elsewhere.

Chen wants BlackBerry to stay a competitor in smartphones while building on strengths in areas like mobile data security and mobile device management.

The success of this plan depends to a large degree on the revenue generation abilities of the company's new mobile device management system, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12). The software, which is set for a mid-November launch, allows companies and government agencies to manage and secure not just BlackBerry devices running on their networks, but also Android, Windows and iOS-based phones and tablets.

BlackBerry said it had issued 3.4 million licenses for its current BES10 platform, a sharp increase from the prior quarter. Some 25 percent of the new customers came from rival mobile device managers. These new clients will automatically be entitled to BES12 upgrades.

Reuters, All Rights Reserved 2015

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