Blog Post

RIM Slashes Guidance On Weak BlackBerry Demand; Trading Halted

Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) lowered its profit expectations for the upcoming quarter by about 10 percent Thursday afternoon, citing weaker-than-expected demand for BlackBerry smartphones in addition to a shift toward lower-priced models. Trading in RIM’s stock was briefly halted as investors digested the news, which comes a week after the launch of RIM’s hope for the future, the Playbook tablet, and a week before its BlackBerry World conference in Orlando.

RIM now expects earnings per share for its current quarter to fall between $1.30 and $1.37, down significantly from the range of $1.47 to $1.55 it provided the financial community a month ago when reporting its earnings. “This shortfall is primarily due to shipment volumes of BlackBerry smartphones that are now expected to be at the lower end of the range of 13.5-14.5 million forecasted in March and a shift in the expected mix of devices shipped towards handsets with lower average selling prices,” RIM said in a press release.

While it didn’t provide any hard numbers, RIM said that Playbook shipments were in line with expectations and that the disaster in Japan did not have an effect on its supply chain. It did not alter its guidance for the full year, predicting that BlackBerry sales would rebound in the second half of the year as new products arrive, possibly bearing the QNX software that RIM used on the Playbook.

Once trading resumed on RIM’s stock around 4:30 p.m. ET, shares plunged nearly 9 percent in after-hours trading. RIM plans to hold a conference call at 5:30 p.m. ET to discuss its revised outlook on the business.

More to come.