RIM says it will miss Q3 guidance, plans to book charge due to poor PlayBook sales

Research In Motion announced ahead of the trading day on Friday that it will miss its third fiscal quarter guidance when it reports its earnings later this month. The Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor confirmed that it will not meet the $5.3 billion to $5.6 billion in revenue it guided when reporting its second-quarter earnings, and it said EPS fell in the low to mid range of its forecast. RIM also said it will miss its full-year EPS estimate of between $5.25 to $6.00 a share. The company plans to book a one-time pre-tax charge of $485 million in the third quarter in order to write down the value of unsold BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, which has not been well-received by consumers or enterprise customers. RIM did say it shipped 14.1 million smartphones in the quarter, in line with its forecast, but it only sold 150,000 PlayBook tablets into retail sales channels compared to 500,000 units in the first quarter and 200,000 in the second. Shares of RIM stock dropped 5% in pre-market trading after being halted on the news. RIM’s full release follows below.

Research In Motion Announces Third Quarter Provision Related To PlayBook Inventory and Confirms Commitment to Tablet Market; Provides Update to Q3 and Fiscal 2012 Guidance

Waterloo, ON – Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced that it would record a pre-tax provision in the third quarter of fiscal 2012 of approximately $485 million, $360 million after tax, related to its inventory valuation of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.  The charge is expected to be predominantly non-cash.  All figures in this release are in U.S. Dollars and U.S. GAAP, except where otherwise indicated.

As previously disclosed, RIM has a high level of BlackBerry PlayBook inventory.  The Company now believes that an increase in promotional activity is required to drive sell-through to end customers.  This is due to several factors, including recent shifts in the competitive dynamics of the tablet market and a delay in the release of the PlayBook OS 2.0 software.  As a result, RIM will record a provision that reflects the current market environment and allows it to expand upon the aggressive level of promotional activity recently employed by the Company in order to drive PlayBook adoption around the world.

Based on the positive response to the promotions that are underway in select markets, RIM believes this strategy will accelerate adoption of its QNX-based platform by consumers and enterprises, as well as help to drive the development of a vibrant application ecosystem in advance of its next generation BlackBerry smartphones.  RIM sold into the channels approximately 150,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the third quarter and sell-through to end customers, based on RIM’s internal data, was higher than this amount.  Since the launch of the new promotions across consumer and enterprise channels in the United States and Canada late in the third quarter, the Company has seen a significant increase in demand for the PlayBook.  Both consumer and enterprise customers who purchase a new BlackBerry PlayBook at the current promotional pricing, along with existing PlayBook customers, will be able to upgrade to the enhanced PlayBook OS 2.0 software at no additional charge when it becomes available in February 2012.

“RIM is committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook and believes the tablet market is still in its infancy. Although a number of factors have led to the need for an inventory provision in the third quarter, we believe the PlayBook, which will be further enhanced with the upcoming PlayBook OS 2.0 software, is a compelling tablet for consumers that also offers unique security and manageability features for the enterprise,” said Mike Lazaridis, Co-CEO at Research In Motion. “Early results from recent PlayBook promotions indicate a significant increase in demand across most channels.  We look forward to continuing to grow the installed base of PlayBook users and to attracting more and more developers to expand the volume of applications, content and services that leverage the power of the industry leading QNX-based platform.”

Updated Third Quarter Fiscal 2012 Guidance and Outlook

While the Company is still in the process of finalizing its third quarter financial results, the Company shipped approximately 14.1 million BlackBerry smartphones in the third quarter ended November 26, 2011 which was in line with previous guidance of between 13.5-14.5 million.  Adjusted revenue in the third quarter, excluding a charge against revenue of approximately $50 million related to the service outage that occurred in the quarter, is expected to be slightly lower than the previously guided range of $5.3-5.6 billion, reflecting product mix and the impact of PlayBook sell-through programs in the quarter.   Gross margin is expected to be in line with previous guidance of approximately 37%.  Excluding the PlayBook provision and the outage related impact described above, RIM expects adjusted diluted earnings per share in the third quarter to be at the low to mid point of the $1.20-$1.40 per share range it previously guided.  The Company’s cash balance at the end of the quarter increased by approximately $80 million to approximately $1.5 billion.  The Company is still in the process of finalizing its fourth quarter outlook, and based on preliminary estimates, RIM expects unit shipments in the fourth quarter to be below third quarter levels.  The lower expected shipments in the fourth quarter are due to several factors including lower than expected sell-through in the third quarter and RIM’s current view of fourth quarter demand.  The Company no longer expects to meet its full year adjusted diluted earnings per share guidance of $5.25-6.00.

Note: Adjusted diluted earnings per share and adjusted revenue do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and thus are not comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other issuers.  The Company believes that the use of adjusted diluted earnings per share and adjusted revenue enables the Company and its shareholders to better assess RIM’s operating results relative to its operating results in prior periods and improves the comparability of the information presented.  Investors should consider RIM’s use of non-GAAP financial measures in the context of RIM’s GAAP results.  A reconciliation of adjusted diluted earnings per share and adjusted revenue to GAAP diluted earnings per share and GAAP revenue will be included when RIM releases its financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 on December 15, 2011.

 

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