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Ciena narrows loss, sees uncertainty

The networking gear maker reports a net loss of $88.9 million, but it is challenged to predict the timing of some revenue in the current quarter.

Networking gear maker Ciena on Thursday reported a net loss for its third fiscal quarter on rising revenue as it continues a corporate transformation.

For the quarter ended July 31, Ciena said it had a net loss of $88.9 million, or 20 cents per share. That compares with a net loss of nearly $160 million, or 42 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.

The company has accumulated losses of $271.5 million in the past nine months, amounting to a net loss of 62 cents per share for that period of time.

The Linthicum, Md.-based company also announced its intent to acquire privately held Akara to gain entry to the market for certain storage area networking products. The deal is expected to be completed in the end of the year.

Revenue for the third quarter rose by 37 percent from the year-ago figure of $50 million to reach $68.5 million.

"This quarter we recognized meaningful revenue from our recently completed acquisition of WaveSmith, improved our gross margin and achieved our operating expense targets a quarter ahead of plan," Ciena CEO Gary Smith said in a statement.

"Ciena is a very different company than it was just a year ago, and we're not finished," he said.

Smith said that to achieve sustainable profitability, the company would require expanding into new markets and at the same time reducing spending. In the third quarter, the company recognized revenue from 72 customers and added seven new ones, including two incumbent carriers.

However, the company said, the timing of revenue recognition, particularly with incumbent carriers, remains difficult to predict. That means revenue in Ciena's revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter is likely to be somewhere in a range of between 5 percent below and 5 percent above the third-quarter level, depending on the timing of significant orders, the company said.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Akara will merge with a wholly owned subsidiary of Ciena, and all remaining outstanding shares of Akara common and preferred stock will be exchanged for $45 million, consisting of $31 million in cash and $14 million in shares of Ciena common stock.