OTTAWA – Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) Wednesday lowered its estimate for BlackBerry subscriber additions for the rest of this fiscal year on new product launch delays, but said sales forecasts remain unchanged.
Shares in RIM, which makes the BlackBerry wireless e-mail device, dropped nearly 7 percent in opening trade before recovering slightly. The stock was off C$3.72 to C$75.16 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and lost $3.08 to $64 on Nasdaq Wednesday.
"Despite neutral impact on revenue, RIM is first and foremost a BlackBerry subscriber story, so expect heavy impact on shares," said Conscius Capital Partners analyst Kona Shio in a note.
RIM said it now expects third-quarter subscriber additions to be 8 percent lower than its previous forecast of 680,000 to 710,000, and continues to see quarterly revenue of $540 million to $570 million.
Analysts on average are expecting $555.6 million for the period ending Nov. 26, according to Reuters Estimates.
For the fourth quarter, ending March 4, RIM now sees subscriber additions 3 percent lower than its previous forecast of 775,000 to 825,000.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it does not expect that reduction to have any material impact to its prior forecast of fourth-quarter revenue between $590 million and $620 million.
RIM said subscriber additions in September and October were in its anticipated range, but growth was below expectations in November.
It blamed unexpected launch delays in two of its new BlackBerry handset series -- the BlackBerry 8700 and BlackBerry 7130 -- to early December from early November.
"These new handsets have only become commercially available through business channels this week and national retail availability is now expected in early December," the company said. "As a result, many customers delayed purchases in anticipation of the newer products."
RIM said its subscriber base grew about 17 percent in the current quarter, to more than 4 million. That is up from 3.65 million which RIM reported in with its second-quarter results in September.
The company will report third-quarter financial results and subscriber numbers on Dec. 21.