VerticalNet

(VERT)

, which reported fourth-quarter earnings after the closing bell, said it expects revenue to decline sequentially, and the company's shares tumbled to a new low in after-hours trading.

The business-to-business concern reported a fourth-quarter loss of $28.5 million, or 32 cents a share, excluding noncash expenses, one-time items and preferred stock dividends. On the same basis, the company lost $29.9 million, or 35 cents a share, in the previous quarter and 14 cents in the same period last year. Analysts' estimates compiled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

called for the company to lose 19 cents in the quarter, but the figures aren't directly comparable because the consensus figure didn't take into account the company's sale of its

NECX

unit to

Converge

.

Revenue rose to $40.7 million, an increase of 18% sequentially and up dramatically from $7.8 million in the year-ago period.

Shares of VerticalNet gained 22 cents, or 6.6%, to $3.53 in regular session

Nasdaq

trading, but fell to $3.01 in recent after-hours

Island

action.

VerticalNet, which is based in Horsham, Pa., expects a first-quarter loss of $28.5 million to $31.5 million, or 29 cents to 32 cents a share, excluding restructuring charges and other items. Revenue for the quarter should be in the range of $34 million to $37 million. For 2001, the company forecast a cash loss of $60 million to $70 million, or 60 cents to 70 cents a share, with positive cash earnings in the fourth quarter. The company projected revenue of $220 million to $230 million for the year.

VerticalNet expects revenue of $45 million to $47 million for the second quarter. The company will record a charge of $2 million to $3 million in the first quarter to account for its restructuring efforts, which are expected to save $11 million on an annualized basis.