RIM profit climbs but misses expectations

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Research in Motion posted a fiscal fourth-quarter profit and revenue that missed Wall Street expectations, but the BlackBerry maker's forecast for the current quarter easily topped analysts' estimates.

Shares of RIM (RIMM) plunged 5% in after-hours trading after the company reported a profit of $710.1 million, or $1.27 per share. Net income rose 37% compared with a year earlier, but analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of $1.28 per share.

The Canadian company said it shipped 10.5 million devices and added 4.9 million users during the quarter, driving sales up 18% to $4.08 billion compared with a year earlier, but the figure was below analysts' estimates of $4.31 billion.

Even as competition intensifies with Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500)'s iPhone and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500)'s Android-based phones, the company maintained its leading role in North America, where the BlackBerry continues to be the top selling smartphone.

And RIM chief executive Jim Balsillie said the company "made great strides in penetrating international markets."

Nearly half of the quarter's revenue was supported by international sales, he said, and about 38% of new subscribers were from markets outside of North America.

"The fourth quarter results were softer than expected, but the company's growth in international markets will be a major driver going forward and supports its first-quarter guidance," said Steven Li, analyst at Raymond James.

The company's cheaper devices, such as the BlackBerry Curve 8520, are strong sellers abroad, but they push the company's average selling price lower.

But with a new lineup of higher-priced products being introduced in the second half of the year, Balsillie said he is confident in the company's future growth.

For the current quarter, RIM said it expects to add between 4.9 million and 5.2 million BlackBerry users, driving earning between $1.31 and $1.38 per share, above analysts' outlook of $1.23. For the three months ended May 29, the company forecast revenue between $4.25 billion and $4.45 billion. Analysts are looking for $4.33 billion.

For the year ended Feb. 27, RIM reported a profit of $2.46 billion, or $4.31 per share, on revenue of $14.95 billion. To top of page

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