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Bad news from BlackBerry: 4,500 jobs to be cut, expected Q2 net operating loss of over $950 million

Bad news from BlackBerry: 4,500 jobs to be cut, expected Q2 net operating loss of over $950 million
Michael Gorman
Michael Gorman|@Numeson|September 20, 2013 3:22 PM

Things haven't been going well at BlackBerry for awhile, what with lackluster adoption of BB10 and the hardware running it, and rumors that massive layoffs are coming before the end of the year. Today, the company confirmed the latter rumor, announcing that it will lay off around 4,500 employees as a part of a plan to reduce its operating expenditures by half over the next year. The plan's necessitated by an expected Q2 2014 net operating loss of almost one billion (955-995 million) dollars, driven primarily by the lackluster sale of its BB10 phones -- the company will take a pre-tax charge of $930-960 million which can be attributed mostly to the failure of the Z10 to sell. BlackBerry expects revenue for Q2 to be $1.6 billion, which is roughly half of the $3.1 billion it pulled in last quarter.

Needless to say, the financial outlook for the company isn't good, and some changes are in order. In the near term, the Z10 will be priced " to make it available to a broader, entry-level audience," leaving the Z30 as BlackBerry's all-touch flagship. To try to turn things around in the long term, the company's going to refocus on its enterprise offerings and will reduce its device portfolio from six devices to four, with two high end and two entry level phones. And, don't get it twisted, the days of BlackBerry courting mainstream consumers is all but over -- its future phones will be aimed at the "enterprise and prosumers."

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BlackBerry Announces Preliminary Second Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results and Provides Business Update

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, Sep 20, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- BlackBerry Limited BBRY -2.38% CA:BB -2.31% -

-- Company expects GAAP net operating loss of approximately $950 million to
$995 million; loss includes a primarily non-cash, pre-tax inventory
charge of approximately $930 million to $960 million resulting from the
increasingly competitive business environment impacting BlackBerry
smartphone volumes, and a pre-tax restructuring charge of $72 million
-- Company expects to report revenue for the second quarter of
approximately $1.6 billion; recognizes sales of approximately 3.7
million smartphones in the second quarter
-- Company to refocus on enterprise and prosumer market, offering end-to-
end solutions, including hardware, software and services
-- Future smartphone portfolio will transition from 6 devices to 4;
focusing on enterprise and prosumer-centric devices, including 2 high-
end devices and 2 entry-level devices
-- Company announces restructuring plans, including reduction of
approximately 4,500 employees; targets reduction of its operating
expenditures by approximately 50% by end of Q1 Fiscal 2015
-- Company sees increasing penetration of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10
(BES 10) with more than 25,000 commercial and test servers installed to
date, up from 19,000 in July 2013
-- Special Committee of the Board continues to evaluate strategic

BlackBerry Limited, a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced certain preliminary financial results for the three months ended August 31, 2013 and provided an update on business operations.

Preliminary Second Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results

The Company currently expects to report revenue for the second quarter of approximately $1.6 billion, of which approximately 50% is expected to be service revenue. For the second quarter, the Company expects to recognize hardware revenue on approximately 3.7 million BlackBerry smartphones. Most of the units recognized are BlackBerry 7 devices, in part because certain BlackBerry 10 devices that were shipped in the quarter will not be recognized until those devices are sold through to end customers. During the second quarter, approximately 5.9 million BlackBerry smartphones were sold through to end customers, which included shipments made prior to the second quarter and which reduced the Company's inventory in channel.

As a consequence of the more intense competition the Company is experiencing in its hardware business, it expects to report a primarily non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments in the second quarter of approximately $930 million to $960 million, which is primarily attributable to BlackBerry Z10 devices.

The current quarter will also include a pre-tax restructuring charge in the approximate amount of $72 million reflecting ongoing cost efficiency initiatives.

As previously disclosed, the Company anticipated generating an operating loss in the second quarter. The Company currently expects that its adjusted net loss, before giving effect to the inventory and restructuring provisions referred to above, will be in a range of approximately $250 million to $265 million, or $0.47 to $0.51 per diluted share. Including the inventory and restructuring provisions, the GAAP net loss is expected to be approximately $950 million to $995 million, or $1.81 to $1.90 per share. Adjusted gross margin is expected to be approximately 35-37 percent.

At the end of the second quarter, total cash, cash equivalents and investments is estimated to be approximately $2.6 billion. The Company has no debt.

The preliminary, unaudited information provided above is based on the Company's current estimate of results from operations for the second quarter of Fiscal 2014 and remains subject to change based on the Company's ongoing review of results, the subsequent occurrence or identification of events prior to closing of the review and any further adjustments made in connection with closing and review procedures. All figures in this release are in U.S. dollars and U.S. GAAP, except where otherwise indicated.

Operational Restructuring Designed to Enhance Financial Results

As part of the Company's focus on enhancing its financial results, and in response to the increasing competition in the smartphone market, BlackBerry also announced plans to transition its future smartphone portfolio from six devices to four. The portfolio will focus on enterprise and prosumer-centric targeted devices, including 2 high-end devices and 2 entry-level devices in all-touch and QWERTY models. With the launch of the BlackBerry Z30 - the next generation high-tier smartphone built on the BlackBerry 10 platform -- this week, the Company will re-tier the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone to make it available to a broader, entry-level audience. At the same time, the Special Committee of the Company's Board of Directors continues to evaluate all strategic alternatives for the Company.

Furthermore, the Company also announced that it is targeting an approximate 50% reduction in operating expenditures by the end of the first quarter of Fiscal 2015. As part of this, BlackBerry will implement a workforce reduction of approximately 4,500 positions or approximately 40% of the Company's global workforce resulting in a total workforce of approximately 7,000 full-time global employees.

Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry said, "We are implementing the difficult, but necessary operational changes announced today to address our position in a maturing and more competitive industry, and to drive the company toward profitability. Going forward, we plan to refocus our offering on our end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user. This puts us squarely on target with the customers that helped build BlackBerry into the leading brand today for enterprise security, manageability and reliability."

The Company continues to see increasing penetration of BES 10 with more than 25,000 commercial and test servers installed to date, compared to 19,000 in July 2013.

"Our enterprise business continues to reflect the trust that governments and businesses have placed in the BlackBerry platform," added Heins. "Security matters and enterprises know the gold standard in enterprise mobility is BlackBerry."

Second Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results Conference Call Details

As previously announced, the Company will discuss its full second quarter Fiscal 2014 results on September 27, 2013. A conference call and live webcast will be held beginning at 8 am ET, which can be accessed by dialing 1-800-814-4859 or through your BlackBerry(R) 10 smartphone, personal computer or BlackBerry(R) PlayBook(TM) tablet at http://ca.blackberry.com/company/investors/events.html A replay of the conference call will also be available at approximately 10 am ET by dialing (+1)-416-640-1917 and entering passcode 4612568# or by clicking the link above. This replay will be available until midnight ET on October 11, 2013.

Adjusted loss from continuing operations before tax, adjusted loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share from continuing operations do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and thus are not comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other issuers. The Company believes that the presentation of adjusted loss from continuing operations before taxes, adjusted loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share from continuing operations enable the Company and its shareholders to better assess the Company's operating results relative to its operating results in prior periods and improves the comparability of the information presented. Investors should consider these non-GAAP measures in the context of the Company's GAAP results. A reconciliation of these measures to corresponding GAAP measures will be included in the Company's second quarter financial disclosures that will be released on September 27, 2013.

Bad news from BlackBerry: 4,500 jobs to be cut, expected Q2 net operating loss of over $950 million