Agere Systems

narrowed its quarterly net loss, helped by cost-cutting efforts.

The maker of semiconductors and optical equipment said its net loss in its fiscal fourth quarter was $885 million, or 54 cents a share, compared with a loss of $3.4 billion, or $2.05 a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $128 million, or 8 cents a share, which was 4 cents better than analysts had expected, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Despite the weak market, the company expects to achieve profitability before one-time items and positive cash flow in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003.