TORONTO — American business magazine Fortune has named Canadian technology icon Research in Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM), maker of the BlackBerry, the world’s fastest-growing company.
Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM — one of Canada’s most valuable companies with a stock worth of $44 billion — was one of two Canadian businesses that made the top 10 after Fortune opened its 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list to non-American businesses for the first time.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT), the world’s biggest fertilizer company, came 10th.
RIM holds a 56 per cent share of the US$12-billion — and growing — American smartphone market, and is expected to see three-year average earnings-per-share growth of 84 per cent and revenue growth of 77 per cent. Fortune says this is largely on the strength of RIM’s foray beyond the corporate world into the highly competitive consumer market.
The rapidly expanding company, founded in 1984, has more than quadrupled its workforce in the last four years and expects to have about 12,000 employees by the end of the year as its profits and revenues soar.
Started in a southwestern Ontario community known for its technical university, Research in Motion now has operations across North America and is growing into Europe and Asia.
In its latest quarterly report, Research In Motion said it earned US$643 million, or $1.12 per share, compared with $482.5 million, or 84 cents per share a year earlier. Revenues rose 53 per cent to US$3.42 billion.
RIM also added 3.8 million new subscribers in the quarter, bringing its overall subscriber count to 28.5 million.
“The increasing adoption of 3G networks worldwide, increasing adoption of Internet worldwide, consumers’ ease of use and need to get data on the go” have combined to create soaring demand for RIM’s products, said Veritas Investment Research Corp. analyst Neeraj Monga.
The Fortune article about RIM compares co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis to Apple (Nasdaq:APPL) head Steve Jobs, and says the two Canadians are “more than holding their own” against the popular iPhone, Apple’s trend-setting smartphone product that has met with massive consumer demand.
By comparison, Apple takes 39th place in the magazine’s top-100 list.
However, Fortune warns that RIM’s competition from the likes of Apple, Acer, Dell and Motorola is “getting increasingly stiff.”
RIM is in the midst of a battle to buy a prized piece of Nortel Networks’ wireless technology business after the fallen Canadian high-tech giant filed for bankruptcy in January.