RIM ekes out small profit

AFP, NEW YORK

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 - Page 15

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) on Thursday reported a small profit after three consecutive quarterly losses, offering some optimism for the struggling firm.

The Canadian-based company posted a net profit of US$9 million in the third fiscal quarter ending Dec. 1, despite the loss of one million subscribers.

That compared with a loss of US$235 million in the second quarter and profits a year ago of US$265 million.

RIM said a more accurate picture was available after adjustments to reflect tax and restructuring costs, resulting in an adjusted loss of US$114 million.

That translates to losses of US$0.22 per share, markedly better than analysts forecasts of losses of US$0.35 per share.

Revenue for the quarter was US$2.7 billion, down 5 percent from US$2.9 billion in the previous quarter and a slump of 47 percent from US$5.2 billion in the same quarter of this fiscal year.

However, the results were better than most predictions and prompted a rise in after-hours trade for RIM, which has been hit hard by a consumer shift to Apple Inc’s iPhone and devices powered by Google Inc’s Android system.

RIM shares were up 7.2 percent at US$14.12 in electronic trades.

The stock hit multi-year lows earlier this year.

“RIM continued to execute on its product roadmap plans and to deliver on key financial metrics as it gets set for the global launch of BlackBerry 10,” president and chief executive Thorsten Heins said.

The new “BB 10” platform is to be launched Jan. 30, and is seen as the last hope for Ontario-based RIM to regain some of its former luster.

A report by IHS iSuppli this week said BlackBerry will see its market share fall to 5 percent this year, from 11 percent last year.

“During the third quarter, we continued to demonstrate our strong financial position, generating US$950 million in cash flow from operations and increasing our cash position significantly to more than US$2.9 billion,” Heins said in a statement.

“More than 150 carriers are currently completing technical acceptance programs for the first BlackBerry 10 products, and beta trials of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 are underway at more than 120 enterprises including 64 Fortune 500 companies,” he said.

RIM, which faces a difficult period as customers await newer devices, said it shipped 6.9 million smartphones and 255,000 PlayBook tablets in the past quarter, but acknowledges it is using deep discounts.

“The company expects that there will be continued pressure on operating results as it gets set to launch its BlackBerry 10 platform in the fourth quarter,” RIM said in a statement.”

RIM said it “will be significantly increasing its marketing spending this quarter as expected, to support the global launch of BlackBerry 10,” and expects to report an operating loss for the fourth quarter.