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RIM outlook fails to impress, shares slide

Sep 15, 2011, 2 p.m.
A person uses the new Blackberry Bold 9900 at a release party to promote the BlackBerry OS 7 devices in Toronto August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Research In Motion reported a sharp drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, hurt by an aging lineup of BlackBerry smartphones that was only refreshed very late in the quarter and tepid sales of its PlayBook tablet computer, and its shares fell sharply.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company's adjusted net profit fell 47 percent to $419 million, or 80 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $4.2 billion.

Analysts had on average expected RIM to earn 88 cents a share on revenue of $4.47 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company, which issued a profit warning in June, earned $1.46 a share on sales of $4.62 billion in the year-ago period.

RIM shipped 10.6 million smartphones and 200,000 PlayBook tablet computers in the three months to August 27, sharply below analysts' average estimate.

RIM said it expects profit and BlackBerry shipments to rebound in the current quarter as upgraded, touchscreen versions of its Bold, Torch and Curve smartphones, plus a Torch-branded touchscreen-only device, start selling in volume across the world.

But its outlook did not go beyond what analysts had anticipated. RIM's Nasdaq-listed shares fell as much as 10 percent to $25.65 in after-hours trade minutes after the results were released.

RIM expects to earn between $1.20 and $1.40 a share on sales between $5.3 billion and $5.6 billion in the three months to late November.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto; editing by Peter Galloway and Janet Guttsman)

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