RIM Shares Tank on Lousy Outlook
Investors wondering if Research in Motion’s thriving international business is strong enough to offset the pressures the company faces in the North American smartphone market got their answer this afternoon: Yes, for now.
Posting fourth-quarter financials after market close Thursday, the company said it sold 14.9 million BlackBerrys, a number in the upper end of its projected range. Full-year shipments were a record 52.3 million units–a 43 percent improvement over the year prior. And it reported earnings per share of $1.78, besting analyst estimates, which had called for $1.75 per share.
Sadly for RIM, revenue came in at $5.56 billion, a bit short of the consensus estimate of $5.65 billion. Also falling short of estimates was the company’s outlook for the current quarter: The BlackBerry maker said it expects revenue of between $5.2 billion and $5.6 billion, and earnings of between $1.47 and $1.55 a share. That’s a far cry from the $5.6 billion and earnings of $1.65 a share for which analysts had been looking and it caused an after-hours sell-off that dragged the stock down nearly 10 percent. Read over RIM’s explanation for it and you’ll see why.
“This guidance range reflects a mix shift in handset towards lower ASP products in the first quarter and an increased level of investment in research and development and sales and marketing related to our tablet and platform initiatives. The guidance range is slightly wider than normal to reflect the risk of potential disruption in RIM’s supply chain as a result of the recent earthquake in Japan.”