December 17, 2010 2:04 am

RIM profits surge on Blackberry appeal

BlackBerry devices proved their enduring appeal in Research In Motion’s third quarter, with the Canadian smartphone maker reporting 40 per cent growth in shipments from the same period a year ago to 14.2m units.

The record number helped revenues rise 40 per cent to $5.49bn, with 82 per cent of sales coming from devices, 15 per cent from services and 3 per cent from software and other areas.

RIM has been coming under pressure from Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running on Google’s Android operating system, although it has benefited as the smartphone market as a whole has continued to grow.

RIM said it added 5.1m net new BlackBerry accounts during its third quarter ending November 27 to give it a subscriber base of more than 55m.

Profits of $1.74 per share, or $911.1m, were up 58 per cent from the same period a year earlier. The numbers beat analyst expectations of earnings of $1.65 per share and revenue of $5.4bn, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

“With strong results and momentum from our recent product introductions, as well as growing excitement from our partners and customers around upcoming smartphone, tablet, software and service offerings, we are setting the stage for continuing success,” said Jim Balsillie, RIM’s co-chief executive, in a statement.

He was referring to the launch of the BlackBerry Torch in August, which combines a slide-out keyboard with a touch screen, and its plans to introduce a tablet device called the PlayBook in the first half of next year.

The company forecast revenues of $5.5bn to $5.7bn in its quarter ending February 26, with profits of $1.74-$1.80 a share. They exceed analyst estimates of $5.46bn and profits of $1.61 a share, according to Bloomberg.

RIM shares rose nearly 2 per cent to $60.35 in extended trading in New York on the news.

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