THQ Posts Quarterly Loss

Guidance looks problematic.
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swung to a fourth-quarter loss as sales declined and its video-game development expense ballooned.

THQ lost $7.9 million, or 12 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with earnings of $10.1 million, or 16 cents a share, a year ago. The latest-quarter loss had 14 cents of extra expense related to the cost of shutting down certain development projects and other issues.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting a loss of 10 cents a share in the most recent period.

Sales were $148.1 million, down from $171.9 million. Analysts had expected $145.3 million in the most recent period.

The company expects to lose 21 cents a share before items in the current quarter on sales of $125 million; analysts were forecasting earnings of a penny a share on sales of $199 million.

For the year ending next March, THQ sees earnings of 90 cents to $1 a share on sales of $900 million. Analysts were looking for earnings of 93 cents a share on sales of $928 million.

"We continue to execute against our plans to manage through the platform transition," THQ said. "We expect our investments in next-generation product development to begin yielding strong results starting in fiscal 2007 with products such as 'Saints Row' and 'WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2007.' In fiscal 2008, we plan to release an increasing number of next-generation titles in order to capitalize on the growing hardware installed base, including products such as 'Frontlines: Fuel of War' and others yet to be announced. With strong licenses secured for the long term, 1,200 people in our internal studio system, a growing direct international business and more than $370 million in cash and short-term investments, we are well positioned to expand our leadership in the video-game industry."