There may be plenty of buzz about next generation iPhones, or Apple’s efforts to capture the smartphone market, but Research in Motion doesn’t seem fazed. Wednesday, when the phone maker released Q4 earnings, the numbers were strong. Even amidst a slowing economy, RIM (Nasdaq: RIMM) easily beat guidance and doubled year over year results.
For the three months ending March 1st, RIM earned $412.5 million (72c a share) on revenue of $1.88 billion. Both numbers are more than double year ago results when RIM reported earnings of $187.4 million (33c a share) on revenues of $930.4 million. The Wall Street consensus was for fourth quarter earnings of 70c a share on revenue of $1.86 billion (Thompson).
On the entire fiscal year 2008, net income was $1.29 billion, or $2.26 per share diluted, up 105% over fiscal 2007.
In subscriber metrics, on the quarter the company added 2.18 million subscribers raising total headcount to more than 14 million. Co-CEO Jim Balsillie characterized that as “exceptional subscriber growth.”
In other metrics reported, RIM said they shipped 4.4 million phones in the fourth quarter and 14 million for the year. The company is also sitting on cash or cash equivalents well in excess of $2 billion.
In forward guidance, RIM said they expect to draw revenue in the range of $2.23 billion to $2.3 billion and earn between 82 and 86cents a share during the first quarter. That’s well ahead of the 77cents Reuter’s is currently listing as their consensus analyst expectation.
Many analysts have been concerned that an economic slowdown might hurt RIM. The strong quarter and positive guidance suggests the company doesn’t have the same worries. In the press release, Balsillie characterized the coming year saying: “the prospects for RIM and the industry are more exciting than ever."