Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - Page 15 News List

RIM sells jet to save US$1bn in costs


Research In Motion Ltd (RIM), which has lost 95 percent of its market value since 2008, is selling one of its two business jets under a plan to save US$1 billion in operating costs, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The maker of BlackBerry devices put its nine-passenger Dassault Aviation SA F50EX up for sale, trying to fetch US$6 million to US$7 million, one of the people said. The person declined to be named because the sale has not been completed. Selling the midrange jet would leave RIM with one Dassault F900EX, a longer-range aircraft that can fit 14 passengers, the person said.

Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins, who was expected to face investors today at RIM’s annual shareholder meeting, is trying to rein in costs as the company’s smartphones fall out of favor and losses mount. A 47 percent plunge in US sales last year has left RIM increasingly dependent on markets such as Indonesia and South Africa, forcing its top executives to roam further afield for sales growth. The company has offices in at least 27 countries and sells phones in more than 175 markets.

“We’re looking at options with both our aircraft costs and finding ways to reduce our travel while still making sure we keep in close contact with our partners around the world,” Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM said in a statement in response to inquiries from Bloomberg. “It’s all part of the effort to find ways to reduce costs and drive efficiencies that Thorsten Heins has talked about.”

Heins has said he is aiming to save US$1 billion this fiscal year through “significant efficiencies and operating cost reductions.”

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