BlackBerry CEO John Chen celebrates quarterly results despite revenue loss

A Canadian flag flies at BlackBerry's headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.
A Canadian flag flies at BlackBerry's headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario. The Canadian Press/Geoff Robins

WATERLOO, Ont. – BlackBerry‘s shares rose in pre-market trading on Friday after the smartphone pioneer and software provider reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

The stock, which is traded on the Toronto and Nasdaq stock markets, was up about seven per cent after BlackBerry reported that its loss was smaller than analysts had estimated. It also reported an unexpected adjusted profit, after excluding certain items, even as its revenue fell.

“Our Q4 results came in at or above expectations in all major metrics,” Chen said in a statement ahead of his conference call with analysts. “In our areas of strategic focus, we are executing well and gaining traction.”

BlackBerry’s net loss under general accounting rules, reported in U.S. dollars, was $47 million, or nine cents per share – a big improvement from the $238-million loss it had at the same time last year.

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Revenue for the former leader in smartphone technology fell to $286 million for the quarter, down 38 per cent from a year before.

But BlackBerry’s report was more focused on its adjusted profit of four cents per share and its future prospects as a primarily software company.

The adjusted profit was four cents per share better than the consensus estimate. BlackBerry also did better than the estimate of a net loss of 13 cents per share and revenue of $289 million, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“Looking ahead to fiscal 2018, we expect to grow at or above the overall market in our software business. We also expect to be profitable on a non-GAAP basis and to generate positive free cash flow for the full year.” Chen said.

For the full year ended Feb. 28, BlackBerry had a $1.21 billion net loss under general accounting rules and just $1.31 billion of revenue, which was down nearly 40 per cent from fiscal 2015-16.

But BlackBerry had signalled it expected the fourth quarter to begin a recovery.

READ MORE: What’s next for BlackBerry now that it has kissed smartphones goodbye?

Besides building on its reputation for highly secure software, BlackBerry is trying to capitalize on developing software for the self-driving vehicle market, an industry that’s expected to take off in the years ahead.

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Last September, BlackBerry announced it would no longer make smartphones as its devices became swept aside by consumers in favour of Apple and Samsung phones.

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