Crossroads Systems'' 4Q loss smaller than expected

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Crossroads Systems posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter Thursday, losing $4.8 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $8.4 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 21 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Crossroads Systems (Nasdaq: CRDS) shares fell 16 cents to $4.88.

The $8.4 million in sales marks an 18 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $870,000, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $7.1 million.

Although the loss was smaller than expected, investors clearly aren't pleased with the company's sales growth.

The stock was trading at a 52-week high of $202.25 a share in February, a sure sign that 18 percent sales growth simply isn't cutting.

"We are pleased with our improved fourth quarter and our overall fiscal 2000 performance," said CEO Brian Smith in a prepared release. "After taking a hard look at our business last quarter, we implemented an extensive quality management program that resulted in numerous process improvements throughout our business and drove a more consistent revenue pattern."

For the fiscal year, it lost $14.5 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $33 million, up 75 percent from fiscal 1999 when it dropped $4.2 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $18.9 million.

Last quarter, Crossroads Systems missed analysts' estimates when it posted a loss of $8 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $4.8 million.

Four of the five analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

Analysts are projecting a loss of 63 cents a share in fiscal 2001.