RIM: higher 4Q profit as subscriber base grows (AP)

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 | Finance News

TORONTO – Research In Motion said its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings jumped 37 percent as its BlackBerry subscriber base grew and smart phone shipments increased.

Canada-based Research In Motion Ltd. said Wednesday that its net income for the December-February period was $710.1 million, or $1.27 per share. That is up from $518.3 million, or 90 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 18 percent to $4.08 billion, short of the $4.31 billion expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

The net income was nearly in line with analysts' predictions of $1.28 per share.

RIM said it added nearly 5 million net subscriber accounts in the quarter, bringing the total to more than 41 million.

For the current period, it expects earnings of $1.31 to $1.38 per share, above analyst expectations.

Shares of Research in Motion, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, dropped more than 5 percent to $70.27 in after-hours trading after the report came out. Earlier, the stock closed down 95 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $73.97.

"These are not terrible numbers, but they certainty missed the high end of expectations," said Duncan Stewart, director of research and analysis at DSam Consulting.

"It's by no means a sign that the wheels have fallen off Research in Motion."

Nick Agostino, an analyst with Mackie Research Company, said the averaging selling price of $325 could suggest that Apple's iPhone is cutting into RIM's North American business.

Agostino said the stock rang up in recent weeks and some were expecting better results.

"It's a little bit of a mixed bag," Agostino said.

RIM had 50.3 percent of the smart phone business in North America in 2009, down from 50.7 percent in 2008, according to Gartner.

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