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cut its net loss by nearly 90% in its third quarter on a modest rise in sales, the storage company reported Thursday.

The company lost $5.52 million, or 5 cents a share, in the just-completed period. That result compared favorably with the third quarter last year, when it lost $50.05 million, or 44 cents a share.

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On a year-over-year basis, McData's sales rose 4% to $98.53 million.

Excluding amortization, restructuring and other expenses, the storage networking comapany would have earned $4.6 million, or 4 cents a share, in the third quarter. In the same period last year, the company reported pro forma income of $2 million, or 2 cents a share.

On this basis, analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to earn a penny a share on $99.9 million in sales in the quarter. The storage company predicted in August that it would lose 6 cents to 7 cents a share in the quarter -- or report break-even to 1 cent a share earnings excluding charges -- on sales ranging from $98 million to $102 million.

McData expects to post non-GAAP earnings of 4 cents to 6 cents a share in its fourth quarter on sales ranging from $102 million to $106 million. Analysts expect the company to earn 3 cents a share on $108.22 million in sales in the current quarter.

In after-hours exchanges, McData shares were recently up 7 cents, or 1.2%, to $5.92. Shares of the storage company closed regular trading up 3 cents, or 0.5%, to $5.85.