BlackBerry Falls Most in a Year as Chen Plans More Smartphones

  • Chen sticks with plan to make profit on handset business
  • BlackBerry to intoduce another Android phone this year

BlackBerry Ltd.’s stock slid to its worst day in almost a year, in line with a broader market selloff, after Chief Executive Officer John Chen said the smartphone maker would unveil at least one more Android device this year.

New handsets indicate more costs and less profitability in an industry where BlackBerry’s global market share has slipped below 1 percent. Shares fell 8.5 percent to $8 at Thursday’s close in New York, its biggest decline since January 2015. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 3 percent, part of a slump in global equity markets this week.

Chen said on Wednesday he expects to make the money-losing smartphone division profitable soon, and CNET reported the company will produce a new phone running on Google’s Android operating system in 2016, citing an interview with Chen. The CEO has said he will keep making smartphones if he can make the unit profitable.

Some investors want BlackBerry to ditch the device business altogether and focus on growing software revenue, said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial LP.

“For those people looking for BlackBerry to become much leaner, much less capital-intensive, the handset business might be considered a disappointment,” Gillis said.

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