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RIM profit jumps; SEC upgrades probe

BlackBerry maker forecasts growth, reveals informal SEC inquiry into stock options is now formal investigation.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion reported a sharply higher fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, adding about a million subscribers and forecasting more growth for the upcoming quarter.

RIM also revealed that an informal inquiry by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into past stock-option grants has been upgraded to a formal investigation, adding it plans to continue co-operating with the regulator.

The company said it earned $187.9 million, or 99 cents a share, in the three months ended March 3. That met expectations and was up from a profit of $18.4 million, or 10 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

The company's adjusted income was $192.8 million, or $1.01 per share. All the results the company released on Wednesday are preliminary as RIM works to bring its financials up to date in wake of a in how it granted stock options in the past.

According to Reuters Estimates, analysts were expecting the company to earn 99 cents a share before one-time items on revenue of $936 million.

The results also met forecasts that RIM provided to investors in December, when it said it would have net earnings of between 92 cents and 99 cents a share and adjusted earnings of between 95 cents and $1.02 a share.

"We are entering fiscal 2008 with very healthy subscriber growth momentum, a strong slate of products and services, exceptional partnerships and a growing market leadership position," co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said in a statement.

The company said it added 1.02 million BlackBerry subscribers in the quarter and finished the period with a total account base of about 8 million.

Revenue spiked to $930.4 million from $561.2 million a year earlier.

For the upcoming first quarter, Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM said it expects revenue of $1.025 billion to $1.075 billion and to add between 1.125 million and 1.15 million subscribers. It expects net earnings of between 99 cents and $1.07 a share and adjusted earnings of $1.01 to $1.09 a share.