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BlackBerry CEO may be contemplating sale of handset unit

"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business," John Chen tells Reuters.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen at a press roundtable session at the Consumer Electronics Show. Roger Cheng/CNET

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said Wednesday that the company might stop making mobile phones if it continues to lose profits on its devices, according to Reuters.

"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business," John Chen told the news agency in an interview.

Chen said he will make a decision on whether to stay in the handset-making business shortly, according to Reuters, but he wouldn't give any more details.

For its final quarter of fiscal 2014 ending March 1, the company recorded a loss of $423 million, compared with a profit of $98 million from the prior year's quarter. Revenue sank by 64 percent to $976 million. BlackBerry shares on Wednesday rose 14 cents, or 1.76 percent, to $8.10 in after-hours trading.

Exiting mobile phone-making doesn't necessarily mean that BlackBerry would be throwing in the towel. Chen told Reuters, in a video interview, that the company intends to keep working on its mobile operating system, software business, and enterprise server services.

BlackBerry is also looking to boost its investments with new acquisitions and partnerships, according to Reuters. These partnerships might be in fields like health care, finance, and legal services, which could benefit from BlackBerry's well-known network security offerings.

Chen said he's been talking to various companies around the world and "the initial feedback has been very strong in terms of interest level."

Facing tough competition from Apple, Samsung, and other smartphone makers, BlackBerry has been in the red over the past year. Last August, the company announced it was for sale but then tempered that possibility when Chen took over in November.

Chen has previously said he expects the company to be cash-flow positive within the next four quarters and profitable by fiscal 2016. On Wednesday, he reiterated that goal.

"I think the company is very undervalued," Chen told Reuters. "I really feel good about our chances."