Business World

Thursday 22 February 2018

BlackBerry shares tumble with no turnaround in sight

No return to profit and scant detail on sales of make-or-break device

BlackBerry launched two new smartphones this year, the touch screen Z10 device, followed by the Q10, with a mini keyboard favoured by many BlackBerry users
BlackBerry launched two new smartphones this year, the touch screen Z10 device, followed by the Q10, with a mini keyboard favoured by many BlackBerry users

Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp

Blackberry offered few signs of a long-promised turnaround yesterday, with an unexpected quarterly operating loss, few details on sales of its make-or-break new devices and no return to profit in the current quarter.

BlackBerry shares tumbled 20pc in early US trading.

BlackBerry, struggling to compete against Apple's iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and other devices powered by Google's Android operating system, reported a net loss of $84m (€65m) in the first quarter ended June 1. That compared with a year-earlier loss of $518m.

Excluding one-time items, BlackBerry reported a loss from continuing operations of $67m on revenue of $3.1bn.

"Quite frankly, the fear is that with a full quarter of (the new) BlackBerry 10 sales – we haven't received the BlackBerry 10 unit numbers yet – but certainly it doesn't bode well for the initial BlackBerry 10 launch, particularly the Z10.

"But even the outlook for a Q2 loss doesn't bode well for the Q10 either," said Brian Colello, an analyst with Morningstar.

BlackBerry launched two all-new smartphones this year, the touch screen Z10, followed by the Q10, with a mini keyboard favoured by many BlackBerry users.

The Z10 only hit shelves in the crucial US market in late March, while the Q10 device only reached the United States after the end of BlackBerry's fiscal first quarter.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it shipped 6.8 million smartphones in the quarter, up 13pc from the final quarter of its last fiscal year. But it did not say how many of them were BB10 devices.

Analysts said the shipment numbers indicated sales of the new devices have not yet been as good as they hoped.

BlackBerry did not provide a detailed outlook for the rest of the year, saying the smartphone market remained highly competitive, making it difficult to estimate units, revenue and levels of profitability. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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