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rose 13% early Tuesday after the maker of optical networking components said fiscal first-quarter sales nearly doubled from year-ago levels.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Fremont, Calif., company lost $22.3 million, or 16 cents a share. That compares with a year-ago loss of $27.9 million, or 26 cents a share. Sales jumped to $35.8 million from $18 million a year earlier.

"Revenue sequentially grew by 12% due to strengthening overall demand for optical communication products and further customer penetration," CEO Jo Major said. "Avanex increased gross margins by 13 percentage points and lowered certain operating expenses from the prior quarter. We are currently developing additional operating plans to further reduce our cost structure in future quarters."

Avanex also forecast a 12% sequential gain in second-quarter revenue. That means the company should post a second-quarter top line of around $40, which is well ahead of Wall Street's $37.5 million analyst consensus estimate.


agreed in early 2003 to take a pair of faltering optical components businesses off

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hands in a deal that also brought Avanex more than $100 million in cash.

As a result of that deal, Avanex makes optical systems such as lasers and amplifiers that help transport light waves through fiber-optic telecommunications networks. Like many outfits that sat atop the once-hot communications business, Alcatel and Corning were slashing jobs and jettisoning cash-burning units in an effort to bring costs down as industrywide spending remains weak.

On news of that May 2003 deal, Avanex nearly tripled off its dollar-and-change starting point. Since then, though, it has mostly moved sideways, aside from a few forays above $5 late last year and early this year.

Early Tuesday, Avanex rose 37 cents to $3.15.