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Profitability is just two quarters away: BlackBerry chief John Chen

Tags: BlackBerry

Revenue is still falling, handset sales dipped below 1 million units, but John Chen is still smiling.

While the BlackBerry CEO isn't satisfied with the Waterloo-based company’s results he says sales will start to grow in the next two quarters. Google is a big part of that plan. The company announced it will be selling a BlackBerry smartphone with keyboard that runs on an Android operating system.

"This is the answer for the former BlackBerry user who misses the keyboard, but wants apps," Chen said during the company's conference call. The new device is called the Priv – emphasizing BlackBerry’s core mission of protecting customer privacy, Chen said in a statement when announcing the company’s weaker-than-expected results.

For the second quarter, BlackBerry reported just $490-million US in sales, missing analyst estimates of $611 million. Sales were down 46 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

On the positive side, the smartphone maker reported $51-million of net income, which was an improvement on the year-earlier net loss of $207-million, as well as $100-million of positive cash flow.

But on the adjusted basis, BlackBerry fell to a loss of $66-million or 13 cents per share – deeper than the nine cents per share expected by analysts.

Chen admitted in an interview with BNN that sales of the Blackberry Passport and Classic have been "disappointing" but he's not ready to give up on them just yet. Investors, however, appear to have given up with the stock now back to levels when Chen first took the CEO post.

When asked whether BlackBerry would realize more shareholder value if the company was taken over, Chen told BNN’s Amber Kanwar: "My job is to make the company stronger and stronger.”

"I don't think you sell companies, companies are bought. Fifteen (dollars per share US) is too low'" he said referring to a possible takeover price. BlackBerry also announced an expanded share repurchase place.

Earlier this month, BlackBerry purchased rival Good Technologies for $425 million US, the biggest acquisition in the company's history. Chen said the business is not currently profitable but will be under the BlackBerry brand. In fact, Chen says the entire company will be profitable by the end of fiscal 2016, which is just two quarters away.

As for what happens next, Chen says wants to wait to see how successful the smartphones are before he says something he might regret later.

-with files from wires

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