Gerber Scientific


said Friday it would widely miss analysts' estimates in the third and fourth fiscal quarters and would suspend its quarterly dividend.

The South Windsor, Conn.-based company, which makes automated manufacturing systems, said the third quarter could end with a loss of 17 cents a share. The loss in the fourth quarter will be about 3 cents a share, the company said. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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were anticipating earnings for the quarters of 2 cents and 10 cents a share, respectively.

The loss for the year could be as high as 23 cents, the company said, well short of analysts' consensus estimate of a 47-cent-a-share gain.

Gerber Scientific's board of directors voted to suspend the 8-cent quarterly dividend beginning with the May 2001 payment. By not making the dividend payment, the company will have an additional $7 million to put toward debt reduction, executives said.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, Gerber Scientific lost $2.14, or 19.8%, to $8.70 in early afternoon trading Friday.