TORONTO— Research In Motion Ltd. said Thursday that it sold about 1 million of its critically important new BlackBerry 10 devices and returned to profitability in the most recent quarter.
The earnings provide a first glimpse of how RIM’s new touch-screen Z10 is selling internationally and in Canada since its debut Jan. 31. Details on the U.S. launch are not part of the fiscal fourth quarter’s financial results because the Z10 just went on sale in the U.S. last week.
In the quarter that ended March 2, RIM earned $98 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with a loss of $125 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 36 percent to $2.7 billion, from $4.2 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected $2.82 billion.
“I thought they were dead. This is a huge turnaround,” Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said from New York.
Misek said the Canadian company “demolished” the numbers, especially its gross margins. RIM reported gross margins of 40 percent, up from 34 percent a year earlier. The company credited higher average selling prices and higher margins for devices.
“This is a really, really good result,” Misek said. “It’s off to a good start.”
Chief executive Thorsten Heins said he implemented numerous changes at the company over the past year and those changes have resulted in RIM returning to profitability.
The company also announced that co-founder Mike Lazaridis will retire as vice chairman and director.