EDC lends $265M to Spain’s Telefonica for BlackBerrys
by David Friend, The Canadian Press
Crown corporation says agreement will help foster stronger relationship between two companies
OTTAWA—The Canadian government is helping a Spanish telecommunications company buy BlackBerry smartphones.
Export Development Canada has loaned about $265-million to Telefonica to purchase BlackBerry smartphones and related services.
The Crown corporation says the agreement will help foster a stronger relationship between the two companies.
“EDC’s financing is really about making the transactions between BlackBerry and Telefonica easier, helping to enhance and broaden the relationship between these two major global players,” said EDC regional vice-president Lewis Megaw, who is responsible for Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
EDC provides financing to international companies to help promote Canadian goods and services, or other international relationships.
Telefonica has worked with EDC on several agreements since 2006, but recent troubles with Spain’s economy have affected its financial results.
The company, which operates in 24 countries, reported that profits dropped to $4.4-million in 2012, compared to $6.2-million in 2011.
Revenues were relatively flat.
The Spanish firm has also had a relationship with another Waterloo, Ont.-based company, Sandvine Corp., which oversees network technology.
Meanwhile, presales were underway for the keypad version of the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone in the United Kingdom.
Two major U.K. retailers, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u, began taking orders for the device on their websites on the weekend.
The BlackBerry Q10 device is scheduled to arrive in stores later this month.
While a Canadian release date hasn’t been announced yet, it’s expected to arrive in the same time frame.
Many longtime BlackBerry users have professed their loyalty to a keypad version of the device.
Some have chosen to wait for it rather than buy the touchscreen model that arrived in stores earlier this year.
BlackBerry hopes a combination of its two latest models, both which use a new operating system, will help it secure a stronger competitive position in the smartphone market, which is dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy.
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