Video-game publisher THQ ( THQI) reduced its guidance for the second quarter and fiscal year, after lower-than-anticipated sales of two key games and a decision to delay release of other titles. THQ said it expects second quarter sales of about $229 million and a net loss of about 11 cents a share, including stock-based compensation expenses of 8 cents a share. Excluding one-time charges, the company estimates it will report a loss of about 3 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are expecting second-quarter revenue of $236.6 million and earnings of 10 cents a share. For the fiscal third quarter ending Dec. 31, THQ expects to report sales of about $490 million and earnings of about 61 cents a share, which includes 6 cents of stock-based compensation expense. Excluding the stock-based compensation expense, THQ will report earnings of 67 cents a share. Analysts are expecting revenue of $521.3 million and earnings of $1.02 a share. The revised second- and third-quarter expectations reflect lower-than-anticipated shipments of the company's two latest releases, Stuntman: Ignition and Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights. "Second quarter results were also affected by higher than expected price protection for these titles," said THQ in a statement. Shares of THQ were off 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $23.79 in recent after-hours trading.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ending Mar. 31, THQ expects to report sales of about $240 million and earnings of about 19 cents a share, which includes 6 cents a share of stock-based compensation expense. Excluding one-time charges, the company expects to earn 25 cents a share, lower than analysts' expectations of 33 cents a share on revenue of $263.01 million. The fourth-quarter guidance reflects THQ's decision to delay the release of its games, Destroy All Humans!: Path of the Furon for Sony's ( SNE) PlayStation 3 system and Microsoft's ( MSFT) Xbox 360 video, Frontlines: Fuel of War for the PS3 and de Blob for Nintendo Wii and DS. As a result, for the fiscal year ending Mar. 31, THQ expects to report sales of about $1.06 billion and earnings of 56 cents a share, which includes stock-based compensation expenses of 24 cents a share. Excluding stock-based compensation expense, the company expects to report earnings of 80 cents a share. Analysts are expecting revenue of $1.12 billion and earnings of $1.36 a share. The company will report its complete second quarter financial results on Nov. 1.