RIM Predicts Fourth-Quarter Profit Beat

The company meets its lowered fiscal third-quarter targets.
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Research in Motion

(RIMM)

hit its lowered fiscal third-quarter targets and guided up for the fourth quarter on Thursday.

The Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry maker posted earnings of $477.3 million, or 83 cents a share, excluding one-time items, for the third quarter. Those numbers compare with an adjusted profit of $370.5 million, or 65 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Sales for the quarter ended Nov. 29 were $2.78 billion, 8% above the prior quarter and a 66% increase over year-ago levels. Analysts had expected RIM to post adjusted earnings of 83 cents a share on $2.82 billion in sales.

RIM says it added 2.6 million net new BlackBerry email subscribers in the quarter. That takes its BlackBerry subscriber count to 21 million, a 14% sequential increase over the fiscal second quarter.

Looking ahead, RIM says it expects profits, excluding one-time items, to be about 87 cents a share on sales of $3.4 billion for the fourth quarter. That forecast is much sunnier than analysts' estimates, which called for a profit of 83 cents on $2.99 billion in revenue.

"We have entered the fourth quarter with strong momentum despite the challenging general economic conditions. In fact we have enjoyed our best ever start to the holiday buying season over the past few weeks," co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in a press release.

RIM introduced a few new phones, including the touchscreen BlackBerry Storm with

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

last month, that is expected to give

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

iPhone some competition. The

Storm

had a turbulent debut, swamped by glitches, but the company has recently provided a software upgrade that seems to have helped.

RIM says it expects to add 600,000 net new BlackBerry subscribers in the current quarter ending Feb. 28. That would be a healthy 11% growth rate amid a slumping consumer spending environment.

Shares of RIM rose 43 cents, or 1%, to $38.87 in post-close trading Thursday.