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Bernstein Boosts BlackBerry (BBRY) to Outperform; Too Many Positive Scenarios to Ignore

February 4, 2013 10:00 AM EST Send to a Friend
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BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY) is strong early into its first day of trading under the ticker 'BBRY' from 'RIMM' amid an upgrade by Bernstein earlier. The firm moved BlackBerry to Outperform from Market Perform, while setting a $22 price target.

Analyst Pierre Ferragu and team believe that BlackBerry should trade in a $20 to $25 range after the BlackBerry 10 launch and pricing-in of a stabilized trajectory for fiscal 2014.

The firm give four reasons for a strong BB10 launch:
  1. Channel inventories are down 10 million units over the last year, putting BlackBerry in a strong position for shipping new devices. This indicates that operators and distributors will take on "significant" initial orders;

  2. BB10 will help improve device gross margins. Current, the company sells higher-end devices with a negative gross margin. As BB10 begins replacing those devices, BlackBerry should move back into positive territory. Bernstein sees gross margins of about 30 percent on the new devices;

  3. BB10 will be supported by most operators at launch, meaning consumers won't have to cut contracts and make a switch to start using the devices;

  4. There is still a large installed base of BlackBerry users with aging devices. Should BlackBerry be able to get a refresh commitment on just 10 percent of the 30 million or so corporate users within the first six months, that's about three million units out of the gate.

Bernstein sees one million units shipping in January and February combined, then about one million per month for March through May. That will amount to about three million devices being sold for BlackBerry's fiscal first-quarter 2014. Average selling price (ASP) is expected to be about $550. With 30 percent gross margin, that would lead to operating margin of about 24 percent.

On fears that Service revs will decline, Bernstein has two outcomes
  • Slow adaptation of BB10, which leads to older contracts continuing and BlackBerry benefiting from an established user based with stable revs; or

  • BB10 is a success. Service revs will come under pressure, but rapid sales will stem investor fears on BlackBerry's rapid recovery in the device segment.

BlackBerry shares are up 5.3 percent Monday.




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