BlackBerry Ltd’s (NYSE: BB) disclosure Wednesday that its QNX technologies are now installed in more than 120 million cars, along with a note published by RBC Capital on BlackBerry’s presentation at the May 31 RBC Auto Technology Conference, show that BlackBerry is thriving in the auto market. Taken together, the news items show that BlackBerry’s revenue and profits are poised to rise dramatically, lifting BlackBerry stock tremendously.
BlackBerry noted that QNX technologies — including an operating system, advanced driver assistance platform, infotainment platform and connectivity modules — are installed in many of the world’s top automakers. These include Honda Motor Company Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE: TM), and Volkswagen AG ADR (OTCMKTS: VLKAY). BlackBerry indicated, inline with my longtime thesis on BlackBerry stock, that safety/security is the key behind the proliferation of QNX technologies.
“As cars are increasingly driven by software, our customers and partners rely on BlackBerry QNX technologies to provide them with the safety-certified and secure technology platform on which the future of the automotive industry is being built,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in the company’s press release.
The data and Chen’s statement totally refute the thesis of BlackBerry bears, who have said that QNX technologies are second-rate and will rapidly be replaced by competing software.
Meanwhile, according to RBC, the company’s software is meeting a need for more advanced, secure automotive middleware, caused by the ever increasing complexity of vehicles’ computer system. Importantly, the research firm believes that BlackBerry offers “the broadest portfolio of foundational and middleware software for automotive.”
In other words, by choosing BlackBerry, automakers obtain the most comprehensive set of middleware for high-tech vehicles, according to RBC Capital. The firm noted that BlackBerry’s software for automobiles, in addition to its QNX operating system, includes its Certicom security solutions, a cloud platform, a virtualization solution, and a tool that scans code for security flaws.
Moreover, inline with my hypothesis from multiple previous columns, BlackBerry plans to obtain much higher revenue per vehicle by selling extra software applications, RBC quoted the company as saying. (However, RBC appears to believe that BlackBerry will only sell apps to auto manufacturers, while I think that the company will also sell apps to car owners). According to RBC, the software maker plans to obtain $20 or more in revenue per vehicle, up from its previous level of $2-$3 per vehicle.
Assuming that BlackBerry’s software is installed in 10 million new vehicles in 2019, and it averages $20 of revenue per vehicle, it equates to $200 million of annual revenue. If we assume that the company’s software in 2017 was only installed in 5 million new vehicles at an average sales price of $3 per car, its revenue from its auto software will jump by $185 million annually over the next two years. If 80% of the increase flows to the company’s bottom line, its annual gross profit would increase by $148 million. That’s very significant, since its gross profit over its previous 12 months was only $670 million.
Bottom Line on BlackBerry Stock
But I think that these numbers vastly understate BlackBerry’s potential. I continue to believe that BlackBerry will eventually sell apps, including advanced security systems and software that tracks the whereabouts of family members, to car owners. I also continue to contend that it will sell data on auto owners to many businesses.
Additionally, RBC believes that “over time” BlackBerry’s technology can be applied to markets other than the automotive vertical, such as healthcare.
Trading at an enterprise value of just over $4 billion, Blackberry stock definitely does not come close to reflecting the company’s huge future windfalls. Consequently, investors should definitely buy BlackBerry stock.
As of this writing, Larry Ramer owned shares of BlackBerry stock.