RIM issues weaker-than-expected outlook, shares down

By @ibtimes on

Research In Motion's net profit jumped 32 percent in quarterly profit, but it issued a weaker-than-expected outlook as it pumped money into the launch of its PlayBook tablet computer.

Shares of the Canadian company dropped 4.9 percent in after-hours trade even though analysts said the earnings and revenue numbers were solid.

The Canadian company reported net profit of $934 million, or $1.78 per share, for the fiscal fourth quarter ended February 26, on revenue of $5.6 billion, it said after the stock market closed on Thursday .

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of $1.76 per share and revenue of $5.64 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Generally looks like Q4 was in line with expectations, Q1 is a little lower on EPS due to research and development, along with sales and marketing associated with the tablet initiative, said Tavis McCourt, an analyst at Morgan Keegan.

RIM said it expected to earn between $1.47 and $1.55 per share in the current quarter, and also said its gross margin would slip to around 41.5 percent.

It said the wider guidance range was due to potential disruption to RIM's supply chain in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake this month.

RIM, which shipped 14.9 million BlackBerry smartphones in the quarter, will step into the burgeoning tablet market created by Apple's iPad with its own version, the PlayBook, due April 19.

RIM made its name with secure, reliable communications for the world's business and government elites, but now fights in a broader market against the likes of Apple's iPhone and a slew of devices using Google's Android platform.

RIM's U.S-listed shares dropped 4.9 percent to $60.95 in extended trade after the results.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Frank McGurty)

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