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RIM beats estimates but cuts outlook

update The maker of the BlackBerry pager posts a loss that is narrower than analysts had expected, but it cuts its sales and earnings outlook for the current and future quarters.

update Research In Motion on Tuesday posted a loss that was slightly narrower than analysts had expected, but the BlackBerry maker cut its sales and earnings outlook for the current and future quarters.

RIM said it had a net loss of $8.6 million, or 11 cents per share, on revenue of $66.1 million in the fourth quarter, ended March 2. In the same quarter a year ago, RIM recorded a net loss of $6.5 million, or 8 cents a share, on revenue of $90.1 million.

The results for the most recent quarter benefited from a one-time reduction in expenses of $3.9 million, or 3 cents per share. That was due to recovery of a receivable that the company had previously written off.

Excluding that recovery, the company would have had a loss of 14 cents per share. On those terms, analysts were expecting the company to post a loss of 15 cents per share, according to the consensus estimate from First Call. Several analysts had expected revenue in the range of $65 million to $67 million, according to brokerage reports.

However, on a conference call with analysts, RIM cut its sales and earnings forecast for both the current quarter and future quarters. Chief Financial Officer Dennis Kavelman said the company now expects revenue for the current quarter to be "in the low $70 million range," down from the $75 million to $80 million the company had predicted in December.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it expects a net loss in the range of 18 cents to 22 cents per share, wider than its earlier forecast of 10 cents to 12 cents per share. The company expects a similar loss in the following quarter, on revenue in the range of $75 million to $80 million.

For the full fiscal year the company now expects to lose 30 cents to 45 cents, with revenue of $375 million to $425 million, below the $440 million analysts were expecting. Kavelman said the company expects to return to profitability in the last quarter of the fiscal year.

"Carrier rollouts of GPRS (the next-generation General Packet Radio Service wireless network) continue to take longer than expected," RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said on the conference call.

RIM said its cash and marketable securities totaled $644.6 million as of March 2 compared with $656.3 million at the end of the previous quarter, a drop of $11.7 million.

Last week the company said it would license the technology behind the BlackBerry to other makers of handhelds and cell phones.