Today Research In Motion reported third quarter revenue of $2.7 billion and earnings per share of -$0.22. While the company lost money per share, its loss was lower than expected. Earnings per share for the quarter were anticipated at -$0.35.

Analysts had expected a net loss in the neighborhood of $190 million, on revenues of around $2.7 billion. Handsets sold were to be just over 7 million. In normal trading on both American and Canadian markets, Research in Motion was broadly up, rising nearly four percent in the States before trading was halting, pending its earnings release.

For the quarter, RIM reported that its cash position improved to $2.9 billion, a jump of $600 million. Cash for the troubled mobile giant is key as it represents the firm’s runway to launch its BlackBerry 10 line of software and hardware. On a year over year basis, BlackBerry shipments are down 51%. The company’s subscriber base ended the quarter at 79 million users.

The company’s 6.9 million shipped smartphones was lower than expected. Continuing the negative theme: RIM’s quarterly revenue was down 5% on a sequential basis, and down a stunning 47% when compared to the same quarter of its fiscal 2012. That second figure represents a decline of $2.5 billion.

Component to today’s news, RIM announced that Robin Bienfait, its Chief Information Officer, will depart the company at the end of the year. He worked at the company for 6 years.

RIM did not have a good quarter. It did, however, have a better quarter than expected, and with nearly $3 billion in cash on hand the company is well capitalized for its push with BlackBerry 10, a proposition that is make or break for its future. The new service launches on January 30th, or about two thirds through its coming fiscal fourth quarter.

Happily, GAAP net income for RIM was $14 million. RIM, to quote Monty Python, is not dead yet.

What follows is the full RIM earnings release:

WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Dec. 20, 2012) – Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today reported third quarter results for the three months ended December 1, 2012 (all figures in U.S. dollars and U.S. GAAP, except where otherwise indicated).

Highlights:

  • Cash increase of approximately $600 million to $2.9 billion
  • Cash flow from operations was approximately $950 million
  • Revenue of $2.7 billion
  • GAAP net income from continuing operations of $14 million, or $0.03 per share diluted, including a $166 million favorable tax settlement
  • Adjusted net loss of $114 million, or $0.22 per share diluted
  • BlackBerry subscriber base of approximately 79 million users
  • Shipments of 6.9 million smartphones and 255,000 PlayBooks
  • RIM’s Chief Information Officer, Robin Bienfait, announces retirement

Q3 Results

Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 was $2.7 billion, down 5% from $2.9 billion in the previous quarter and down 47% from $5.2 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2012. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 60% for hardware, 36% for service and 4% for software and other revenue. During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 6.9 million BlackBerry smartphones and approximately 255,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.

GAAP net income for the quarter from continuing operations was $14 million, or $0.03 per share diluted. GAAP net income for the quarter, including loss from discontinued operations, was $9 million, or $0.02 per share diluted, compared with the GAAP net loss of $235 million, or $0.45 per share diluted, in the prior quarter and a GAAP net income of $265 million, or $0.51 per share diluted, in the same quarter last year.

Adjusted net loss for the third quarter was $114 million, or $0.22 per share diluted. Adjusted net loss and adjusted diluted loss per share exclude the impact of pre-tax charges of $55 million ($38 million on an after-tax basis) related to the Cost Optimization and Resource Efficiency (“CORE”) program and excludes the impact of an income tax benefit of $166 million. These impacts on GAAP net income from continuing operations and diluted earnings per share are summarized in the table below.

“RIM continued to execute on its product roadmap plans and to deliver on key financial metrics as it gets set for the global launch of BlackBerry 10,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO. “During the third quarter, we continued to demonstrate our strong financial position, generating $950 million in cash flow from operations, and increasing our cash position significantly to more than $2.9 billion. More than 150 carriers are currently completing technical acceptance programs for the first BlackBerry 10 products, and beta trials of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 are underway at more than 120 enterprises including 64 Fortune 500 companies. This is an exciting time and our carrier partners, application developers and employees are all looking forward to unveiling the innovation and excitement of BlackBerry 10 to our customers on January 30, 2013.”

RIM also announced today that Robin Bienfait, Chief Information Officer for RIM has made the decision to retire at the end of this year following 6 years of service to the Company. Robin has committed to continue supporting RIM in an advisory capacity to enable a smooth launch and seamless transition.

Under Robin’s watch, the BlackBerry service infrastructure has grown from 47 petabytes per year to more than 33 petabytes per month at the same time as the internal corporate infrastructure for RIM has grown at a remarkable pace. Robin joined RIM in the beginning of 2007 with the mandate to take RIM’s BlackBerry data services infrastructure from a single presence in Canada to a distributed model connecting to over 650 carrier partners worldwide. In addition, over this past year, Robin has led RIM’s Enterprise business unit focused on enabling services for Enterprise customers and preparing for the launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform. Robin has led a distinguished career. Before joining RIM, Robin held a number of senior leadership positions at AT&T and Bell Labs for over 22 years.

“Robin has been an outstanding CIO and has built a world class organization. Her team has diligently prepared us for the launch of BlackBerry 10 and beyond, and I will remain deeply grateful for her leadership and commitment,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of Research In Motion.

Outlook

The Company expects that there will be continued pressure on operating results as it gets set to launch its BlackBerry 10 platform in the fourth quarter. The Company intends to continue to consider using pricing initiatives on BlackBerry 7 devices and service fees in some markets as a way to maintain our subscriber base and drive more BlackBerry users. The timing of the BlackBerry 10 launch event for January 30, 2013 could also impact sales of current BlackBerry 7 products as some customers may defer purchasing decisions and wait for BlackBerry 10 devices. All these factors are expected to impact unit volumes, subscribers, margins and service fees. In addition, the company will be significantly increasing its marketing spending this quarter as expected, to support the global launch of BlackBerry 10, and the Company expects to report an operating loss for the fourth quarter. Further details about the Company’s outlook will be discussed on the conference call and live webcast to be held beginning at 5 pm ET today, information for which is set forth below.

Top Image Credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts