Critical Path

(CPTH)

badly missed Wall Street's expectations, reporting a substantial loss for the fourth quarter - a period in which analysts expected the company to turn a profit for the first time.

But the company didn't stop there. Critical Path now expects revenue for the first fiscal quarter of $54 million to $56 million, and a loss, excluding charges, of 15 cents to 16 cents a share. For 2001, the company expects revenue of $255 million to $260 million, with the hope of becoming profitable in the third quarter. Analysts had been forecasting a profit not only for the latest quarter, but for each quarter in fiscal 2001, including an earnings projection of 3 cents for the first fiscal quarter.

Shares of Critical Path ended the

Nasdaq

regular session at $20, but plunged to $11.10 in after-hours

Island

activity.

Critical Path posted a fourth-quarter loss of $11.5 million, or 16 cents a share, excluding charges, while analysts were looking for earnings of a penny a share, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The company lost $11 million, or 26 cents a share, a year ago. Critical Path attributed the results to currency fluctuations and higher than expected operating expenses as factors in the latest fourth-quarter shortfall.

The San Francisco company, a provider of business-to-business Internet messaging infrastructure, reported fourth-quarter revenue of $52 million, up sharply from $8.2 million in the same quarter a year ago.