Blackberry reports $423 million 4th Q loss

But chief executive John Chen said the company is ahead of schedule on cost cutting plan

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. reported a fourth-quarter loss of US$423 million on Friday as its revenue for the three-month period dropped below $1 billion.

However, executive chairman and chief executive John Chen said the company is ahead of schedule on its cost cutting plan.

``We have significantly streamlined operations, allowing us to reach our expense reduction target one quarter ahead of schedule,'' Chen said in a statement.

``BlackBerry is on sounder financial footing today with a path to returning to growth and profitability.''

In its outlook, BlackBerry says it is targeting break even cash flow results by the end of its 2015 financial year.

BlackBerry, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said the loss amounted to 80 cents per diluted share compared with a profit of $98 million or 19 cents per diluted share a year ago.

However, excluding several one-time items BlackBerry says it reported an adjusted loss from continuing operations of $42 million or eight cents per share for the quarter.

The average analyst estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters had been for a loss of 55 cents per share for the quarter.

Revenue fell to $976 million for the three months ended March 1 compared with $2.68 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected about $1.1 billion for the latest quarter.

The revenue breakdown for the quarter included about 37 per cent from hardware, 56 per cent for services and seven per cent for software and other revenue.

The company said it recognized hardware revenue on approximately 1.3 million BlackBerry smartphones in the quarter.

BlackBerry had $2.7 billion in cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments of March 1.

The company has been cutting costs and restructuring its business in a bid to stay alive including a plan to eliminate of about 40 per cent of the company's workforce.

Last week, Blackberry announced it had signed a deal to sell a majority of its Canadian real estate holdings, more than three million square feet of space and vacant lands, and lease back a portion.

The deal followed the sale in December of a handful of buildings to the University of Waterloo for $41 million under an agreement that would also allow the company to lease back some of them.

And earlier this month, BlackBerry sold its U.S. headquarters in Irving, Texas, to Brookfield Property Group for an undisclosed amount. The company plans to lease back at least part of the six-building location.

For its full financial year, BlackBerry reported a loss of $5.87 billion or $11.18 per diluted share on $6.81 billion in revenue. That compared with a loss of $646 million or $1.23 per diluted share on $11.07 billion in revenue the prior year.

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