Research in Motion Earnings Preview

Research in Motion Earnings Preview

Looking at what analysts are anticipating on Research in Motion’s Limited (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) first quarter results due out today after market hours, one word would perhaps sum up the consensus: R.I.P.

The analysts’ consensus is that RIM could post a net loss, the first after 2004, of three cents per share on revenues of $3.1 billion. This compares very unfavorably with last year’s net earnings of $1.33 per share on a turnover of $5 billion.

Here are some statistics on RIM’s flameout:

  • This could likely be the fourth quarter on the trot when Blackberry revenues show declines y-o-y
  • Shares have lost 11 percent this month alone and currently trade around a nine-year low
  • Market capitalization is sub-$5 billion from approximately $80 billion five years ago
  • RIM was downgraded to ‘underweight’ by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) on Monday

Apprehensions abound among analysts. Concerns include a management that appears confused, fast deteriorating fundamentals, aging product lines and a lot resting on a single product, namely the Blackberry 10 operating system, which is already delayed. Worse, arch rivals Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung, not to mention HTC, have top notch smartphone launches in the wings that may certainly deliver the death knell for Blackberry.

On a more specific note, analysts fear for the quarter because it may show further decline in shipments, a plateau (maybe, a fall) in additions of subscribers and the incalculable fallout of a further delay in the Blackberry 10 and its associated gadgetry, resulting in the company missing out on an important sales season.

What could lurk around the corner on the second quarter?

Said analyst Ehud Gelblum of Morgan Stanley in a note to clients:

“RIM is likely to significantly miss estimates in its FQ2’13 August quarter as it gets hit with the triple whammy of a quickly aging legacy portfolio of BB7 devices, the standard pause in unit shipments ahead of the launch of its new BB10 phone and the overall swoon in the smartphone market caused by the pause ahead of the anticipated October iPhone 5 launch.”

All things taken, it is logical to expect a result sheet awash in red from RIM today, with analyst Brian Blair perhaps putting it best: “terrible with a scoop of worse.”