Updated from March 18

After the bell Thursday, Lattice Semiconductor ( LSCC) delayed releasing its fourth-quarter earnings for the third time in a row, saying it's still reviewing accounting errors.

The chipmaker also said it expects to restate earnings for the first three quarters of 2003, reducing revenues by as much as $11 million and increasing its net loss by as much as $9.5 million. The company had previously posted aggregate revenue of $167 million and a net loss of $58 million over the period.

Early Friday, Lattice shares were recently down 70 cents, or 7.9%, to $8.20.

As for its fourth-quarter report, Lattice first delayed the release back in January, saying it should be ready in the second half of February. At the beginning of March, Lattice said it would report earnings mid-month, according to a Reuters report. Thursday the chipmaker pushed back the earnings results until the end of March.

Lattice tried to sweeten a sour deal by upping its guidance for its March quarter. It said revenue is now expected to grow 10% to 13% sequentially, up from its earlier guidance range for 6% to 10% sequential growth.

But the guidance is of somewhat questionable value. Since Lattice has yet to report its December sales, analysts don't know the revenue base from which March quarter growth would occur. Analysts have been expecting sales of $53.0 million for the December quarter.

Wall Street anticipates sales of $56.1 million for the March quarter and breakeven earnings per share.

The delayed earnings release from Lattice stems from a review of its deferred income account under the direction of its audit committee. Deferred income, a balance sheet item, reflects Lattice's estimate of the potential gross margin on inventory held by distributors.

The past few months have seen a flood of earnings restatements as public companies grow more rigorous in their accounting. Contributing factors include reforms in accounting rules and greater oversight from independent audit committees.