Networking gearmaker



saw sales gains in the latest quarter, but losses widened as pricing pressure hit the bottom line.

The Marlborough, Mass., tech shop posted a loss of $58 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $176.6 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 3. Those numbers compare with a 14-cent loss on $161 million in the prior quarter but represent a 4% drop from year-ago revenue levels.

On an adjusted basis, subtracting one-time events, the company posted a 12-cent loss, in line with analysts' expectations.

The company blamed a slump in demand for some products and price-cutting by competitors for its wider losses.

Looking ahead, 3Com says the fiscal first quarter is seasonally weak and predicts sales will likely be flat with the fiscal fourth quarter. The company's guidance is for revenue somewhere between $170 million and $175 million. Analysts expect $172 million, according to Thomson First Call.

Achieving 10% sequential revenue growth in the fiscal fourth quarter is proof that 3Com is making progress on its strategy, says CEO Bruce Claflin, in prepared remarks released Wednesday. "We have two quarters of revenue growth, and it was done against a backdrop of revenue shortfalls announced by several competitors," Claflin says.

Shares of 3Com dropped 12 cents, or 3%, to $3.67 in after-hours trading.