UPDATE 1-RIM posts smaller than expected loss; shares surge

Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:10pm EST
 
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* 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...