BUSINESS

RIM results to miss expectations as sales face further pressure: BMO analyst

03/07/2012 10:40 EST | Updated 05/07/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Research In Motion's earnings are likely to fall short of expectations in the coming quarters as the BlackBerry maker moves towards the launch of its new devices late in the year, according to an analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns.

The capital markets division of the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) scaled back earnings estimates for RIM on Wednesday, adding to a growing number of analysts who project further troubles for the Waterloo, Ont-based company.

Tim Long of BMO said in a note to clients that he doesn't expect RIM (TSX:RIM) to unveil the next-generation BlackBerry 10 series until the November quarter, and that the lingering uncertainty of the exact timing could keep customers on the sidelines waiting for the new product.

"We believe this will lead to weak device sales for the May and August quarters," Long wrote.

"Given the lack of a new product, we expect unit and pricing pressure for the existing products."

Long cut his price target for RIM to US$12 for its U.S. shares (NASDAQ:RIMM), which is $3 lower than his previous estimate.

The mobile phone and tablet maker has faced a growing amount of scrutiny in recent months as more analysts question how much of its market share has been devoured by competitors like Apple's iPhone and smartphones with Google's Android operating system.

Last week, U.S.-based analyst Jeffries' Peter Misek cut RIM's profit estimates and price target because he expects that RIM will announce revised targets before its March 29 conference call.

Misek says he believes sales of RIM's low-end Blackberries have deteriorated in international markets, an area of growth RIM has benefited from in recent years.

Northern Securities analyst Sameet Kanade expects the company will be forced to reduce the fees it charges to carriers for the BlackBerry service this year as more corporate carriers switch to other devices.

In recent weeks several major organizations have confirmed plans to open up the options for its employees to use devices other than the BlackBerry, including energy services giant Halliburton Co. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Shares of RIM were down nine cents to C$13.06 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.