BlackBerry sales rocket but RIM shares plummet

BlackBerry had record sales according to Research In Motion (RIM) but shares in the Canadian handset maker plunged on an outlook that fell short of the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

RIM shares were down 10.75 percent in after-hours trading after gaining 3.17 percent during the day on Wall Street to close at US$64.09.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net profit of US$934-million for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year compared with US$710-million in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter which ended on February 26 was US$5.6-billion, up 36 percent from the same quarter a year ago. For fiscal 2011, RIM said revenue was US$19.9-billion, up 33 percent from the previous year.

RIM said it expected revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 of between US$5.2-billion and US$5.6-billion and earnings per share of of US$1.47 to US$1.55.

Analysts had been expecting US$5.6-billion and US$1.65 a share.

RIM said the guidance range reflected lower average selling prices for handsets in the current quarter, and increased investment in research, development, sales and marketing of its PlayBook tablet computer.

The range was wider than usual because of “the risk of potential disruption in RIM’s supply chain as a result of the recent earthquake in Japan,” it added.

RIM will begin selling the PlayBook, its iPad rival, on April 19.

RIM reported record Blackberry shipments of US52.3-million for fiscal 2011, up 43 percent over a year ago. It said US14.9-million BlackBerry smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter.

“We are pleased to report record shipments and financial performance in fiscal 2011,” RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie said in a statement.

“As we enter fiscal 2012, RIM is in an excellent position to benefit from the continuing convergence of the mobile communications and mobile computing markets,” Balsillie said.

“We are laying a strong foundation for RIM’s expanding market opportunity through focused investments and we are extremely excited about our smartphone, tablet and platform roadmaps,” he said.

RIM announced meanwhile that the PlayBook will support software applications written for Google’s Android operating system.

RIM president and co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis said the move will “provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform.”



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