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LTX shares dip despite strong 4Q results

Chip-equipment maker LTX Corp. (Nasdaq: LTXX) topped analysts' estimates by a penny a share in its fourth quarter Thursday but its shares still tumbled 1 3/16, or 12 percent, to 12 7/8.

In the quarter, LTX raked in $4.3 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $53.4 million.

First Call consensus pegged the Westwood, Mass. company to earn 10 cents a share in the quarter.

The $53.4 million in sales represents a 63 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $73.8 million, or $2.09 a share, on sales of $32.7 million.

For the fiscal year, LTXX pocketed $375,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $157.3 million compared to a loss of $78.2 million, or $2.15 a share, on sales of $196.2 million in fiscal 1998.

"The continuing shift by our customers to system-on-a-chip designs and single-platform manufacturing strategy, coupled with sound industry conditions, provided the framework for our fourth quarter results," said CEO Roger Blethen in a prepared release. "Although we increased revenues by 23 percent over the previous quarter to meet our customers' need for new technology and capacity, we were able to enter the new fiscal year with a backlog of nearly $117 million."

In a related announcement, LTX said it registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a public offering of an additional 4.7 million common shares.

The underwriting will be managed by Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., Needham & Co. Inc. and Gruntal & Co. LLC.

In the quarter ended July 31 the company reported 39 million shares outstanding on a diluted basis.

LTX shares moved up to a 52-week high of 14 7/8 earlier this week after bottoming out at 15/16 in October.

Three of the four analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.