BlackBerry reports deep loss, revenue drop, as warned

TORONTO (REUTERS) - BlackBerry reported a nearly US$1 billion (S$1.25 billion) quarterly loss on Friday, days after accepting its largest shareholder's tentative US$4.7 billion bid to take it out of the public eye.

BlackBerry, which had warned of the results on Sept 20, said its net loss for the second quarter ended on Aug 31 was US$965 million, or US$1.84 a share, while revenue fell 45 per cent to US$1.6 billion from a year earlier. The loss included a pretax, non-cash charge of about US$934 million against inventory and supply commitments for its new Z10 phone.

The company, which is also planning to shed 4,500 jobs, or more than one-third of its workforce, as it shrinks to focus on corporate and government customers, said it would not host the typical post-results call for investors after signing a tentative US$9-a-share agreement to be acquired by Fairfax Financial, its largest shareholder, on Monday.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company's steep revenue decline and mounting losses have revived fears that BlackBerry, once a high-flyer and pioneer in the smartphone sector, now faces an ignominious death.

"We are very disappointed with our operational and financial results this quarter and have announced a series of major changes to address the competitive hardware environment and our cost structure," BlackBerry chief executive officer Thorsten Heins said in the earnings statement.

BlackBerry said it sold 5.9 million mostly older-model phones in the quarter, but only recognised revenue from 3.7 million, given that many sales had already been booked. By contrast, Apple said it sold 9 million of its new iPhone 5c and 5s models in the three days after launch.

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