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BlackBerry stock falls sharply despite decent quarter amid concern about rival

By David Paddon, The Canadian Press   

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TORONTO—BlackBerry Ltd. stock took a deep dive Wednesday as concern about a competitor seemed to overshadow first-quarter financial results that were ahead of analyst estimates on several key measures.

Shares of the Waterloo, Ont.-based company fell 99 cents or nine per cent, closing at $9.90.

Among possible reasons cited for the decline: insufficient revenue growth from BlackBerry’s legacy business and concern about a competitor to BlackBerry’s recently acquired Cylance subsidiary.

BlackBerry executives were asked during an analyst call why the company’s shares have been underperforming compared with Crowdstrike Holdings Inc., a Cylance rival that went public this month.

Since Crowdstrike shares began trading on Nasdaq two weeks ago, they have risen eight per cent. Over the same period, BlackBerry shares have fallen more than 13 per cent.

BlackBerry executive chairman John Chen said he thinks Cylance is “a completely undervalued asset.”

“Now, how long Crowdstrike can sustain that (crazy) number, it’s for you guys to decide.”

Crowdstrike shares closed at US$62.65, up $1.13 from the previous close and up from its June 12 close at $58.

Earlier Wednesday, BlackBerry reported US$247 million in first quarter revenue, up from US$213 million in the same quarter last year. Its net loss of US$35 million, or nine cents per share, was down from US$60 million or 11 cents per diluted share in last year’s first quarter.

On an adjusted basis, BlackBerry reported a profit of a penny per diluted share—in line with estimates from Thomson Reuters Eikon—and adjusted revenue of US$267 million, $2 million above the analyst estimate of US$265 million.

It was the first BlackBerry financial report to include a full quarter of contributions from Cylance, a California-based artificial intelligence and cyber security company, which was acquired in February for US$1.4 billion.

Related: BlackBerry to buy cybersecurity company Cylance for US$1.4 billion

Cylance contributed $32 million of revenue under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or $51 million on a non-GAAP basis—up 31 per cent from the same time last year.

“I’m pleased to report that our integration of BlackBerry Cylance is ahead of schedule,” Chen said on the conference call. “The teams work extremely well together.”

The one area where there’s been a bit of technological lag, he said, is the integration of Cylance artificial intelligence technology with QNX software due to the amount of work being done on integrating other products.

He said sales from BlackBerry Cylance are also ramping up slowly, as anticipated, because the two companies have had different markets and it will take time to bring their integrated suite of products to new customers.

“BlackBerry is a mobile-first company. . . Cylance is more focused on PCs and routers and servers and fixed assets.”

Once the two product roadmaps are aligned to provide security from end-to-end—mobile to computer—there will be an upturn in revenue, he said.

Chen told reporters after the analyst call that an expanded partnership with South Korea’s LG Electronics, also announced Wednesday, will give BlackBerry wider access to the world’s auto manufacturers.

Under the agreement, LG will embed BlackBerry QNX software into a wide range of components used in infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters and telematics systems for internet-connected vehicles.

BlackBerry’s QNX technology is in more than 150 million cars worldwide—up 30 million or 25 per cent from last year, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Chen told reporters that LG is winning a lot of business with vehicle makers “but more importantly, LG has agreed to use almost all of our components where applicable” so average revenue per vehicle will probably rise.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2019

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