* Q3 loss $0.39/shr vs yr-ago profit $0.16/shr * Results hit by $21.7 mln goodwill impairment charge
* Sales drop 10 pct to $43.6 mln
* Sees Q4 loss $0.06 to $0.10/shr (Recasts, adds analyst's comment, details)
By R. Manikandan
BANGALORE, June 30 (Reuters) - Canada's EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering Inc (EXF.TO) posted a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss, hurt by a goodwill impairment charge and foreign exchange losses, and forecast a weak fourth quarter.
The company also said it cut its workforce by 5 percent, or 65 employees, and would incur pre-tax charges of about $1.3 million in the fourth quarter.
EXFO sees fourth-quarter net loss of 6 cents to 10 cents per share, on sales of $33 million to $38 million.
Analysts on average were expecting fourth-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share, on revenue of $45.5 million.
"Fourth-quarter should be the worst. I would suspect that would be their bottom quarter and should improve after that," analyst Kris Thompson of National Bank Financial said by phone.
For 2009, Thompson expects EXFO to generate revenue of $174 million, down from $184 million it reported in 2008.
In the third quarter ended May 31, EXFO lost $23.3 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with a profit of $11.2 million, or 16 cents a share, a year ago.
EXFO took a non-cash charge of $21.7 million for goodwill impairment and incurred pre-tax foreign exchange losses of $4.7 million in the quarter, the company said in a statement.
Sales fell 10 percent to $43.6 million, hit by the global recession.
Analysts on average expected a loss of 7 cents a share, on revenue of $43.6 million for the quarter.
On June 1, the company forecast net loss of 6 cents to 7 cents a share, on revenue of $43 million to $44 million for the quarter.
Telecom division sales were down 9 percent to $39 million, while life sciences and industrial division sales dropped 20 percent to $4.6 million.
EXFO shares closed at C$3.70 Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)