Research In Motion is poised to beat profit expectations over the next 12 months, powered by demand for its new BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone, a TD Newcrest analyst said on Friday.
First released as the Pearl 8100 in 2006, the device helped RIM break into the consumer market. The latest 3G version delivers the update that customers have been waiting for, TD analyst Chris Umiastowski wrote in a research note.
Umiastowski expects RIM will ship 12.5 million phones in the second quarter, well above a consensus estimate of 11.9 million units, his report said.
We expect the strength of the Pearl 3G to account for much of this difference, while we are in a 'wait and see' mode on the success of the upcoming slider (phone), he wrote.
The Bold 9800 phone, which slides open, is likely to be launched in August, the analyst wrote. Respected tech blog Boy Genius Report recently predicted a June launch at U.S. carrier AT&T.
The slider phone is expected to be the first BlackBerry device to run RIM's latest operating system, Umiastowski wrote. The highly anticipated operating system is expected to have more user-friendly features and is seen as key to competing with Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid.
For fiscal 2011, Umiastowski estimates RIM's earnings per share at $5.86 versus the consensus forecast of $5.42. For fiscal 2012, he predicts profit of $7.06 per share, versus the average analyst estimate of $5.91.
Based on our estimates for next year, the stock is trading close to 9 times P/E (price to earnings). For a company with RIM's track record, we think this is a major buying opportunity, Umiastowski wrote.
Shares of RIM were down 47 cents at $60.85 on Nasdaq and off C$1.29 at C$64.64 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.
(Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Frank McGurty)