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BlackBerry may sell jets to shore up bottomline

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) may sell one or both of its two corporate jets as part of efforts to transform itself into what chief executive Thorsten Heins calls a "lean, mean hunting machine".

business Updated: Jul 11, 2012 23:34 IST

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) may sell one or both of its two corporate jets as part of efforts to transform itself into what chief executive Thorsten Heins calls a "lean, mean hunting machine".

The company said it is looking at options relating to its two executive Dassault jets, which seat nine and 14 people. Initial reports suggested the company would try to sell the smaller jet, which may fetch between $6 million and $7 million, while reducing outgoings in maintenance and ground crew. RIM has owned the jets for at least two years.

"We're looking at options with both our aircraft costs and finding ways to reduce our travel while still making sure we keep in close contact with our partners around the world," a spokesman said.

RIM is trying to save $1 billion in annual costs after two quarters of heavy losses, to solve its problems. Analysts have questioned whether it can survive in its current state, or whether it could head for the bankruptcy courts or be split, with its security software being purchased by a US company - because the US government relies on BlackBerrys for secure communications -and the handset business being sold to a Chinese company.

News came as Heins faced shareholders in Waterloo, Ontario, for the first time at the company's annual general meeting, after a year in which the company's shares have lost 95% of their value from their peak, and 80% in the past year. Its market capitalisation is now only $3.74 billion, of which 85% derives from its patent portfolio covering email security, messaging and handsets.

Heins told shareholders he was not satisfied with the company's performance but that he was excited about the prospects of its new BlackBerry 10 software.