Yesterday was a big day for Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), also known as BlackBerry, as the tech company reported a surprise profit, but subscriber numbers were down from 79 million to 76 million (Dec. 1st). While investors are all over the yard about this stock, one thing is clear: if BBRY is going to become the giant that many of its shareholders hope for, CEO and President Thorsten Heins will continue to play a major role.
Heins was on CNBC yesterday afternoon discussing his company’s prospects, and despite the weight of the interview, it hasn’t been fully and accurately transcribed until now.
We’ll pick out the highlights. Enjoy, Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)/BlackBerry bulls. The entire video is available in the video below, or on CNBC here:
CNBC: “Your earnings described today by most on the Street as a ‘mixed bag’ [...] is that a fair assessment?”
HEINS: “I think what the fair assessment really is: numbers are numbers. The fair assessment that we have by now in twelve months managed this company to a turnaround point, and based on the volumes that you see, we are capable as a company to deliver profits to the shareholders and I think this is an exciting point for us at this part of the journey of BlackBerry.”
CNBC: “How long can you continue to sustain profits at a time when your subscribers are falling off so sharply?”
HEINS: “We have designed BlackBerry [Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)] now in a way that its cost structure going forward is a very competitive cost structure. So what we’re not talking about is not a one-time effect in Q4. We have established an efficient engine in BlackBerry that allows us going forward on the volumes that you will be seeing to be profitable in the future. We will be investing in Q1 and marketing [...] the engine is set up and geared up to be profitable in the future.”
CNBC: “You have been able to manage the balance sheet very well. I heard one analyst on our network today say that he predicts a cash burn over the next several quarters–is he wrong?”
HEINS: “We have always had a very close eye on cash, and we know how important our liquidity position is, so we’re managing this very prudently, but we will have to do investments for example in inventory, to deal with increased demand for the BlackBerry 10 product [...] we will certainly do this because now’s the time to go out and to sell the BlackBerry 10 and bring it into the markets and run the volumes home.”
On the news that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s subscriber numbers have fallen, here’s what he had to say:
CNBC: “It’s hard to ignore the 3 million subscribers leaving [...] who’s to say that it’s not going to continue to get worse? What’s a number that would really scare you?”
HEINS: “The decline in the subscriber numbers is really associated to the former BlackBerry OS system. We expect this to gradually continue [...] with single digits probably in the next quarter. We talked about this before. What we are really working on and what we’re looking towards is new services based on BlackBerry 10 and then we will be looking at the monetary volume of those services rather than pure subscriber numbers [...] If you want to really understand what that business model looks like, you have got to look at the revenue per sub based on applications and services.”
CNBC: “Can you really confidently say that you can build a global brand at a time when your subscriber numbers in the United States are falling, when your brand is losing relevance to the iPhone and to Android, and certainly to Samsung [...] are we looking at the story wrong?”
HEINS: “We absolutely have a strong brand. There’s no doubt about this. This brand shows that through the times through the last 12 months where we were basically on BlackBerry 7 products; there was a huge loyal base working with us, and that loyal base is out there.”
That’s not the whole story though. While Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s Thorsten Heins wouldn’t comment on the takeover rumors that have been so prevalent lately, he did have plenty more to say.