May 1, 2008 / 9:29 PM / 12 years ago

Brightpoint, RIM in global distribution pact

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S.-based cell phone distributor Brightpoint Inc CELL.O said on Thursday it has a global deal to resell the popular BlackBerry e-mail device, sending its shares up 6.5 percent.

Blackberry devices are seen in Los Angeles in this March 3, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

Brightpoint said it would distribute the Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO RIMM.O devices in territories that may include North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa and the Asia Pacific.

Robert Laikin, chief executive of Brightpoint, which includes the world’s biggest mobile phone makers as its customers, said the deal was a big win for the company. He did not give his target for BlackBerry sales.

“On the manufacturer side, (RIM is) one of the few huge opportunities that were left in the space,” Laikin told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Laikin said Apple Inc (AAPL.O), maker of the iPhone, is now the only major phone maker that Brightpoint does not have a relationship with currently.

The company, which resells mobile phones and provides logistics support, already works with cell phone makers Nokia NOK1V.HE, Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), Motorola MOT.N and LG Electronics (066570.KS) and others, Laikin said.

He said the company would handle about 100 million mobile phones in 2008, or one in every 11 devices he expects to be sold this year.

Despite concerns about an economic downturn, industry phone sales for April appeared “normal,” according to Laikin who said second-quarter industry unit sales are typically in a range of flat to up 5 percent, compared with the first quarter.

He forecast 2008 industry phone sales of 1.25 billion to 1.35 billion units around the world.

RIM, whose BlackBerry is popular among executives, said it shipped 14 million phones during its fiscal year 2008, which ended on March 1.

While RIM’s typical customers are business people it has been targeting the broader consumer market since September 2006.

Brightpoint shares closed up 60 cents, or 6.5 percent, at $9.76 on Nasdaq. Research in Motion’s U.S. shares closed up 5 percent at $128 on Nasdaq amid rumors it would launch a flip-phone version of BlackBerry.

Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Gunna Dickson, Phil Berlowitz

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