UPDATE 1-RIM posts smaller than expected loss; shares surge
* Subscriber numbers fall for the first time
* Company reports net profit on tax gain
* Shares rise more than 7 percent after market
Dec 20 (Reuters) - Research In Motion reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday and boosted its cash cushion, sending its shares soaring more than 7 percent.
But the struggling BlackBerry maker also recorded the first-ever decline in its subscriber base, barely a month before the crucial launch of the new BB10 smartphone line.
RIM reported a loss of $114 million or 22 cents a share, excluding one-time items. Analysts, on average, had forecast a loss of 35 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
RIM shares, which closed 3.6 percent higher at $14.12 on Thursday, rose 7.6 percent after the closing bell in the United States to $15.20, as investors cheered the surge in RIM's cash pile ahead of next month's launch of the new BB10 devices.
RIM built its cash cushion up to $2.9 billion in the quarter, from $2.3 billion in the prior period. RIM will need the funds to manufacture and promote its new line of products ahead of the Jan. 30 launch.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company hopes to reinvent itself and revive its fortunes with the BlackBerry 10. It also reported a surprise net profit in its fiscal third-quarter, reflecting a one-time tax gain from restructuring of its international operations. Continued...