RIM stock soars on promise of recovery
Published Friday, September 28, 2012 9:37AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 28, 2012 9:27PM EDT
Research in Motion shares shot up 8.1 per cent on Friday, bolstering the outlook of analysts, as well as company executives who have been working to turn around the company after years of bad news.
On Friday, RIM Canada Managing Director Andrew MacLeod said a better-than-expected earnings report released Thursday is part of a larger turnaround that the company is in the midst of executing.
“We have a plan in place and now the trick is to execute against it. We’re confident we’ll do that,” he told Canada AM’s Beverly Thomson.
He said the company is on track to deliver its critical new BlackBerry 10 platform on time.
“What we’ve said is that BlackBerry 10 will be available in calendar Q1 next year and we’re sticking to that,” MacLeod said. “We’ve been engaged with our carrier partners in Canada and around the world and we’re absolutely on track to achieve that promise.”
While the earnings report showed the company lost money, it didn’t lose as much as analysts had expected – a positive sign for investors that RIM may have finally turned the corner.
“As a result they’ve shown that they’re managing their way through this crisis and they’re preparing themselves for the launch of the BlackBerry 10 next year,” technology analyst Carmi Levy told Canada AM.
The price of RIM shares rose by 56 cents to close at $7.52 Friday. The shares were up more than 13 per cent earlier in the day.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long was also impressed by Thursday’s financial report, but said rocky times could still be ahead for the company. He noted that RIM did not have any products set to launch ahead of the busy holiday season.
"The future of RIM depends on the success of new BB10 devices, which should start shipping in early 2013," Long wrote in a research note.
"At this time, we have not seen enough of BB10 to change our view that the new operating system will not be enough to reverse the dramatic smartphone market share losses."
BlackBerry has been losing market shares to the Apple iPhone and Android smartphones, specifically in North America. RIM reported a quarterly loss of US$235 million last quarter last Thursday, a sharp about-face from a $329 million profit reported one year ago.
Levy said the Waterloo, Ont., company’s fate lies heavily on the success of BlackBerry 10. He added that the new integrated BlackBerry platform, set to be released next year, has shown promise in early demonstrations.
“The technology is really fairly impressive. It does some things that other smartphones simply don’t do,” he said. “You don’t go into an app and do something and then go into another app and do something else. Everything is based on function and flow. That really represents a much more productive way of using a mobile device.”
But Levy added the company isn’t out of the woods yet. He said in order to fully rebound, it will be critical for RIM to deliver a “fully baked” product on time and for them to execute a dazzling marketing campaign that will once again get consumers excited about a brand that has taken a bad beating over the last few years.
In a conversation with CTV Kitchener Thursday, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins responded positively to the earnings report and said the company had achieved a record number of BlackBerry subscribers, bolstered mainly by growth in emerging markets.
He also said the company plans to maintain its current level of liquidity, but is willing to burn some cash in order to ensure that the worldwide marketing campaign for BlackBerry 10 is flawless.
“We want to create the future. BlackBerry 10 is not just a new smartphone, BB10 is really the future for the next decade,” Heins said. “We want to take the company into the next decade as being an innovator and an iconic company that drives mobile computing.”
Heins said the company is about halfway through a course of layoffs expected to be complete by February 2013, the end of the company’s fiscal year, but didn’t rule out the possibility of further layoffs down the line.
“You never know,” Heins said. “We’re right-sizing the company for the opportunity. We feel we have a good opportunity with BlackBerry 10. I hope this is it.”
He added employees at RIM are excited to be innovating and sounded a positive note about the company’s earnings.
“I feel good about (the earnings results). There’s a lot of good work that’s been put into this quarter,” Heins said.