RIM posts 72% Q2 earnings hike, outlook soft

The stock of Research in Motion plunged in extended trading after the BlackBerry maker reported quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street estimates and gave a disappointing forecast, an Associated Press report said.

Its US-listed shares were down €9.7 (US$14.28), or 15%, at €56.7 (US$83.25), the report said.

RIM said it earned €337 million (US$495.5 million) in the fiscal second quarter, which ended August. 30. That was a 72% rise from net income of €1.95 million (US$287.7 million), in the same quarter last year.

Revenue was €1.76 billion (US$2.58 billion), up 15% from a year ago.

The Associated Press report also said RIM sold 6.1 million BlackBerrys in the quarter. However, the company expects revenue of €2.01 billion (US$2.95 billion) to €2.11 billion (US$3.10 billion), better than the €2 billion (US$2.94 billion) analysts were forecasting.

RIM's release did not explain the shortfalls from analyst estimates, but executives were expected to elaborate on a conference call later in the evening, the report said.

The report further quoted Analyst Matt Thornton at Avian Securities saying investors were discouraged by the company's projection of a third-quarter gross margin of 47%, significantly off from the 50% he had expected.

The reason is likely that the company is planning to launch no less than three new handsets in the quarter, Thornton said. The new flagship model, the Bold, was expected to hit the market this summer, but has been delayed and should reach US stores soon.