Updated from 4:57 p.m. EDTThird-quarter profit at Novellus ( NVLS) plunged nearly 64% from the year-ago period amid restructuring charges and falling sales. Meanwhile, the semiconductor-equipment maker offered a worse-than-expected outlook for its current fourth quarter. Investors took the news badly, sending the company's stock downward in after-hours markets. In recent exchanges, shares were off $1.90, or nearly 8%, to $22.99. In the quarter ended October 1, the semiconductor-equipment maker said Monday that it earned $23.4 million, or 17 cents a share. That represented a decline both from the year-ago period, when the company earned $64.6 million, or 45 cents a share, and the previous quarter sequentially, when it earned $33.2 million, or 24 cents a share. Sales came in at $338.9 million, a drop of 18.5% from the year-earlier quarter, but a rise of nearly 3% from the second quarter of this year. Analysts had predicted that the company would earn 21 cents a share on $321 million in sales, according to a poll conducted by Thomson Financial. In August, Novellus narrowed its earnings forecast to a profit of 20 cents to 21 cents a share on revenue of $320 million, excluding the restructuring charges. Novellus is having trouble maintaining its prices, said CEO Richard Hill on a conference call. Additionally, the company suffered from a high rate of cancelled orders in the quarter, said Hill, blaming the cancellations on cautious customers who are reluctant to expand capacity at the risk of affecting cash flow. The company's bottom line in the third quarter included $8.6 million worth of pretax charges related to the closure of its operations in Chandler, Ariz., which Novellus announced in August. Novellus had not forecast how large those charges would be. The charges included a writedown of inventory, severance and other costs.