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BlackBerry boosts 2017 forecast on software, services growth

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 22:10

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BlackBerry Ltd boosted its fiscal 2017 profit outlook and eked out a profit in the fiscal third quarter, showing the company's bet on moving more into software and completely away from handsets is paying off.

[TORONTO] BlackBerry Ltd boosted its fiscal 2017 profit outlook and eked out a profit in the fiscal third quarter, showing the company's bet on moving more into software and completely away from handsets is paying off.

Fiscal third-quarter earnings per share, excluding some items, were two US cents, compared with analysts' average estimate of a loss of 1 cent.

BlackBerry now expects to post a profit for the full year, up from a prior range of break even to a five-cent loss, it said in a statement Tuesday.

Revenue in the quarter was US$301 million, including software sales of US$172 million that was 12 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier. Analysts had projected US$328 million in total.

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The company said it's on track for 30 per cent growth in total software and services sales for the full fiscal year.

Shares gained 2.7 per cent to US$7.90 in premarket trading. The stock was down 17 per cent this year through the end of trading Monday.

After helping usher in the smartphone era, BlackBerry has pivoted to focus on selling a suite of security software products it's collected through acquisitions over the last three years.

In September, BlackBerry said it would outsource all handset design, production and distribution to other companies, and has signed deals with manufacturers in Indonesia and China.

Much of the company's software revenue comes from one-off licensing deals, causing earnings to fluctuate quarter by quarter.

Chief Executive Officer John Chen is trying to grow annual software revenue by 30 per cent this fiscal year, aiming to make US$650 million in the fiscal year that ends in March.

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