UPDATE 3-BlackBerry posts 4th-qtr profit; seeks to end revenue slide

Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:10am EDT
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(Recasts with CEO comments from conference call, analyst comment, updates share price)

By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, March 27 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd posted a surprise quarterly profit on Friday and said it is pushing to end a slide in its revenue in this fiscal year, sending the stock up as much as 5.1 percent.

"Our financial viability is no longer in question. We're now turning our attention to revenue stabilization," BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said on a conference call.

Chen plans to grow BlackBerry's small but high-margin software division by moving more customers onto its products, including a system that allows companies and government agencies to manage multiple employee devices.

The stock rose as high as $9.77, before easing to $9.59, up 3.1 percent on the Nasdaq, despite a much bigger-than-expected decline in fiscal fourth quarter revenue.

BlackBerry investors cheered the unexpected quarterly profit and solid growth in revenue from software products, which includes the QNX operating system, used in everything from cars to reactors.

Chen said while the average analyst estimate of a small per-share loss in the current quarter looks reasonable "we do intend to do better."

"Chen and his team are one of the better management teams out there," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. "But they have a lot of selling and a lot of execution to do."   Continued...