BlackBerry shares soar as software sales hit record

BlackBerry's fortunes have taken a big hit over the years. — Reuters picBlackBerry’s fortunes have taken a big hit over the years. — Reuters picTORONTO, Sept 28 — Canada’s BlackBerry Ltd reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit today after sales at its high-margin software unit hit a record, boosting investor confidence in its turnaround strategy and sending its shares up more than 12 per cent.

The company also gave a robust revenue outlook for the fiscal year and said it expected a profit for the period before special items.

Software and services revenue rose 26 per cent to US$196 million in the second quarter ended Aug. 31 from a year earlier, above the average forecast of US$175 million (RM829.40 million) of two analysts polled by Reuters. Much of the upside came from licensing.

“Obviously a very good quarter for the software business, which is a good sign for BlackBerry,” said Nicholas McQuire, vice president for enterprise research at CCS Insight.



The results bolstered hopes that Chief Executive Officer John Chen was succeeding in rebuilding BlackBerry, whose revenue has declined for seven years due to the collapse of its smartphone business. Chen discontinued smartphone manufacturing and focused on selling software to industrial companies and large corporations.

“There’s some exciting growth opportunities,” Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi said, citing BlackBerry’s progress in getting its technology into self-driving cars.

The company said on Sept. 20 that it would partner with auto supplier Delphi Automotive Plc on a software operating system for self-driving cars, sending its shares up 9 per cent that day.

Chen told analysts on Thursday that he expected BlackBerry to earn US$5 to US$25 a car as it expands into more advanced self-driving vehicles. It already is a leading provider of automobile infotainment system software, which he said generates between US$1.50 and US$5 per vehicle.

Most of BlackBerry’s software revenue now comes from managing phone systems for corporations and government entities, but it expects the automotive industry and industrial applications to accelerate growth in the future.

Excluding special items, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it expected fiscal-year revenue of US$920 million to US$950 million, assuming software of 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Analysts on average had forecast US$924.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company reported a quarterly profit of 5 cents a share, excluding special items. Analysts were expecting break-even results.

The company posted net income of US$19 million, or 4 cents per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of US$372 million, or 71 cents a share.



Total revenue excluding items fell 29 per cent to US$249 million.

BlackBerry’s Canadian-listed shares jumped 12.3 per cent to CUS$12.95, while its U.S.-listed stock gained 12.6 per cent to US$10.39. — Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online





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