RIM is missing targets for new models, Citi says

Thu Jun 9, 2011 6:27pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion is missing crucial targets for introducing new BlackBerry models, squandering an opening provided by Nokia's decision to abandon its own software, an analyst warned on Thursday.

Citigroup, in a note downgrading RIM to "hold" from "buy", said new BlackBerry touchscreen models may miss the crucial back-to-school buying period due to production delays, while giants Apple and Google zoom ahead.

"Thus far our supply chain checks show that RIM's new models have not yet been certified by major wireless carriers and are not in mass production which concerns us," analyst Jim Suva wrote to clients.

Citi slashed its target price on the company's shares to $45 from $80. The stock rose 2.4 percent to $37.61 on the Nasdaq on Thursday after falling in five of the last seven sessions. It has lost a third of its value this year.

RIM has shown off a more powerful touchscreen version of its enterprise workhorse, the Bold smartphone, and promised radio-enabled versions of the PlayBook tablet by the summer.

But analysts have grown increasingly pessimistic on RIM's execution since the company warned that weak sales in the United States and Latin America would limit profit this quarter.

The company, due to report fiscal first-quarter results on June 16, stunned investors in late April with a steep downward revision of its forecasts even as it promised a turnaround from a line-up of new BlackBerry smartphones. It expects to earn between $1.30 and $1.37 a share on revenue below $5.2 billion.

"MATTER OF TIME"   Continued...