BUSINESS

BlackBerry Q1 Earnings: Shares Plunge As Company Reports $84-Million Loss

06/28/2013 07:05 EDT | Updated 08/28/2013 05:12 EDT

UPDATE: Shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion slid in premarket trading after the company posted a loss in the first quarter and failed to break out how many of its new BlackBerrys were sold.

Analysts were hoping to see how BlackBerry's new touchscreen Z10 phone sold for a full quarter in the U.S. market. RIM only said it 6.8 million phones overall versus 7.8 million last year. That includes older models.

RIM's new Blackberry 10 operating system is widely seen as critical to the company's comeback.

Its shares dropped $2.57, or 17.8 per cent, to $11.91 in premarket trading.

Original story continues

WATERLOO, Ont. - BlackBerry delivered a hazy look at its first-quarter results on Friday, posting a loss of US$84 million that fell short of analyst expectations, while offering few details on whether its new phones are selling well.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company's losses were equivalent to 16 cents per share for the three months ended June 1, improved from a loss of $518 million or 99 cents per share a year ago.

But missing from the details were BlackBerry subscriber numbers, a figure that analysts have come to rely on as a barometer of how many people still use the company's devices.

Shares in the company were down nearly 20 per cent in pre-market trading in New York at 7:50 a.m. ET.

Adjusted losses from continuing operations was $67 million, or 13 cents per share, deeper than predictions of six cents per share, according to a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

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BlackBerry Q5

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company says it shipped 6.8 million phones in the quarter, a 13 per cent increase from a quarter earlier when its BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen phone sales were just getting underway. Shipment figures offer an idea of how well the phones might be selling, but are not official sales figures.

Revenue increased to $3.07 billion, up from $2.81 billion a year ago.

"During the first quarter, we continued to focus our efforts on the global roll out of the BlackBerry 10 platform," chief executive Thorsten Heins said in a release.

The results were particularly weak in Latin America where the company says "foreign currency restrictions" in Venezuela negatively affected service revenues by $72 million.

Heins said he expects BlackBerry will book an operating loss in its second-quarter results, due to heightened competition in the smartphone industry.

"The company will also continue to implement the cost savings and process-improving initiatives it started last year," he added.

BlackBerry launched its Z10 phones, equipped with its new BlackBerry 10 operating system in January. The Q10 version with a keyboard was launched later in Canada, the U.K. and other markets.

The complex roll out of the devices has made it difficult for the technology community to conclude whether the phones have been a widespread success.

Founded in 1984, BlackBerry devices are now sold through 650 wireless carriers in 175 countries. In the fourth quarter, BlackBerry reported that it had about 76 million subscribers worldwide.