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BlackBerry maker ekes out profit

Dec 21 2012 07:54 AFP
BlackBerry smartphone

(Irwin Fedriansyah, AP)

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New York - BlackBerry maker Research in Motion on Thursday reported a small profit after three consecutive quarterly losses, offering some optimism for the struggling smartphone maker.

The Canadian based firm posted a net profit was $9m in the fiscal third quarter ending December 1 despite the loss of one million subscribers.

That profit compared with a loss of $235m in the second quarter and a gain a year ago of $265m.

RIM said a more accurate picture comes after adjustments to the net figure to reflect various tax and restructuring costs, which results in an adjusted loss of $114m.

That translates to a loss of 22 cents a share, markedly better than analyst forecasts of a loss of 35 cents per share.

Revenue for the quarter was $2.7bn, down five percent from $2.9bn in the previous quarter and a slump of 47% from $5.2bn in the same quarter of fiscal 2012.

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

RIM shares were up 7.2% at $14.12 in electronic trades. The stock hit multiyear 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," said Thorsten Heins, president and chief executive.

The new BB 10 platform is to be launched January 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% in 2012, from 11% in 2011.

"During the third quarter, we continued to demonstrate our strong financial position, generating $950m in cash flow from operations, and increasing our cash position significantly to more than $2.9bn," 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."

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

"The company intends to continue to consider using pricing initiatives on BlackBerry 7 devices and service fees in some markets as a way to maintain our subscriber base and drive more BlackBerry users."

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.

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