* Q1 profit forecast 15-17 cents/shr vs. est. 17 cents
* COO Nina Richardson resigns
* Holiday quarter revenue rose 75 pct
* Shares fall nearly 18 pct after the bell (Adds analyst comment, details)
By Subrat Patnaik
Feb 5 (Reuters) - Action camera maker GoPro Inc forecast a current-quarter profit that could miss Wall Street expectations and said its chief operating officer was resigning, sending its shares down nearly 18 percent after the bell.
Nina Richardson, chief operating officer for the last two years, will leave the company effective Feb. 27, GoPro said in a regulatory filing. It did not give a reason for her departure.
GoPro, a pioneer in making cameras for mounting on helmets, bikes and surfboards, forecast a profit of 15-17 cents per share on sales of $330-$340 million for the first quarter of 2015.
Analysts were expecting a profit of 17 cents per share on revenue of $324.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
San Mateo, California-based GoPro dominates the global action camera market with a 94 percent share - closest rival Sony Corp has just 3 percent. Hair-raising videos shot by its cameras have made a big splash on the Internet.
GoPro’s resounding success has prompted the likes of Garmin Ltd, Panasonic Corp and Polaroid to launch their own action cameras. The market has also attracted the attention of Apple Inc.
GoPro’s shares swung wildly in extended trading. Before their dramatic reversal, they gained 14 percent after the company announced revenue growth of 75 percent for a holiday shopping quarter during which it sold 2.4 million cameras.
That translates as roughly 1,000 units sold every hour, said Nicholas Woodman, GoPro’s founder and chief executive. Targeting holiday season shoppers, the company launched the latest version of its flagship Hero camera and a cheaper, entry-level camera.
Oppenheimer & Co analyst Andrew Uerkwitz said investors might be nervous about GoPro’s assertion on a post-earnings call that international expansion is a key component of its revenue growth strategy.
“If you have a bigger sequential decline and at the same time international is going to be up more than the previous year, something has to be down. We suspect that’s core North America,” he said.
GoPro reported fourth-quarter net income attributable to shareholders of $122.1 million, or 83 cents per share. Revenue rose to $633.9 million.
Analysts were expecting a profit of 70 cents per share on revenue of $580.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Up to Thursday’s close of $54.37, GoPro’s stock had more than doubled since its market debut in June. (Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Robin Paxton)