Bad news defines Blackberry’s Friday earnings call
It’s a dud by any other name.
As Blackberry’s Friday earnings report demonstrated, the Z10 has yet to develop any messianic qualities.
Shares of Blackberry dropped approximately 28% during the Friday trading day (its biggest drop in over a decade) after the company revealed that shipments of the Z10 were dismal this past quarter. Blame was partially laid on Venezuela’s currency controls.
Shipments were so poor, in fact, that in some markets Blackberry’s last-gen hardware outsold its new handset.
On Friday, Blackberry said it shipped 2.7 million Blackberry 10 smartphones in the last quarter of the 6.8 million total devices sold. The company didn’t disclose exact sales figures, but crunching the numbers shows that Blackberry 10 devices made up 40% of total shipments. Total sales were $3.07 billion, which fell short of the $3.37 billion total projected by analysts. According to an analyst roundup by the Wall Street Journal, total shipments and Blackberry 10 shipments were below analysts estimates.
Blackberry also disclosed that its subscriber base dropped to 72 million in the quarter, continuing a trend of quarterly decline. However the company said it would stop disclosing subscriber numbers, one of the more accurate barometers of its performance, going forward.
This is about as bad as it gets,” Brian Blair, an analyst at Wedge Partners LLC said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We got a really good look at the Z10 demand and it’s a dud by any metric.”
While it would be reasonable to question if Blackberry is sustainable going forward, it should be noted that the company does have ample cash reserves to the tune of approximately $3 billion. Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins said during a post earnings call Q&A that this year would be one of “investment”, and this healthy balance sheet proves that the company has plenty to invest.
During aftermath of every earnings call, speculation runs through the press that Blackberry is going to be the target of a takeover of sorts. In February, Lenovo Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming hinted the company was looking at Blackberry to bolster its growing smartphone arm. However such a takeover would have to clear the hurdles of the Canadian government, which has previously speculated that it may attempt to block such a maneuver under the Investment Canada Act.
RIM said it lost $84 million this quarter, which is less than the loss of $518 million it had this time last year.