BlackBerry restructuring shows early signs of recovery in Q4 results, but revenue weak

The company's management restructuring is showing an early sign that the BlackBerry maker could be starting to recover. But there's still a long way to go yet.

Image: CNET

BlackBerry's fiscal fourth quarter loss narrowed, largely thanks to restructuring changes at the company.

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The Canadian phone maker reported on Friday a fiscal fourth quarter loss of $423 million with an earnings loss of 8 cents a share, down from 22 cents profit on the year-ago quarter. Revenue stood at $976 million, down from $2.68 billion a year ago (statement).

Wall Street was expecting BlackBerry to post a loss of 55 cents a share on $1.11 billion in revenue.

In total, 3.4 million BlackBerry smartphones were sold during the quarter, which helped reduce the company's inventory by 30 percent — but two-thirds of all phones sold were older BlackBerry 7 devices.

While BlackBerry's results beat expectations, the company burned through $500 million in cash, and generated less than $1 billion in overall revenue for the end of the December holiday period.

Gross margin was 43 percent, up from 34 percent in the prior quarter. 

BlackBerry's chief executive John Chen said in prepared remarks:

"I am very pleased with our progress and execution in fiscal Q4 against the strategy we laid out three months ago. We have significantly streamlined operations, allowing us to reach our expense reduction target one quarter ahead of schedule. BlackBerry is on sounder financial footing today with a path to returning to growth and profitability."

Based on the revenue breakdown, the company's new bread and butter are services, which take up 56 percent of revenue, compared to hardware, which makes up just 37 percent.

Looking ahead to the fiscal first quarter of 2014, BlackBerry expects its keep its cash position strong, and aims to break even on cash flow by the end of fiscal 2015.

Shares in BlackBerry ($BBRY) were up more than 7 percent in pre-market trading on the Nasdaq.