Canaccord slashes estimate of BB10 sales over 'steady but modest' levels
The BlackBerry Z10 is shown as it goes on sale in Toronto on Feb. 5, 2013. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 19, 2013 11:37AM EST
TORONTO -- Canaccord Genuity is slashing its estimate of BlackBerry BB10 smartphone shipments in February to just 300,000 units, a far cry from its earlier estimate of more than 1.75 million.
The equities research unit of Canaccord Financial Inc. (TSX:CF) said Tuesday that its global surveys show initial sales have been mixed for the BlackBerry Z10, with limited supply rather than overwhelming demand behind post-launch shortages at some stores.
"Our follow-up checks have indicated steady but modest sales levels," said Michael Walkley, an analyst at Canaccord.
"We anticipate carriers will not build large inventory levels for BB10, consistent with prior BB7 high-end launches, and will initially stock modest levels given the weaker consumer demand for high-end BlackBerry smartphones."
Meanwhile, the delay of the phone's launch in the American market until mid-March or later -- combined with expectations for the Galaxy S4 to launch in the U.S. around the same time -- has lowered sales expectations for not only the February quarter but also the rest of the fiscal year, it said.
Canaccord reiterated its sell rating and a price target of $9 for BlackBerry stock, though other analysts have recently upgraded their expectations for the smartphone maker.
Earlier this month, Citigroup increased its expectations for shares to an "outperform" at $19.50, while Jefferies is maintaining its "buy" rating of $19.50.
Bernstein Research has upgraded the company to "outperform" with a target price of $22, an increase from $12.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) shares were up 45 cents at $14.68 in trading Tuesday morning.
BlackBerry is also pulling out of Korea after its devices gained little traction on the market where it is partnered with SK Telecom, one of the three local carriers. There are no plans to release its new touchscreen and keypad versions on the local market.
"We will continue to support the carrier's ongoing BlackBerry sales in Korea," the company said in an emailed statement.
"We will continue to provide BlackBerry service and after-sales support to BlackBerry's Korean customers, both consumers and business users."