* Q4 EPS $0.05 vs $0.41 loss year earlier
* Analysts forecast EPS $0.04
* Revenue up 15 pct at $58.5 million
* Sees Q1 EPS $0.07-$0.09, rev $57 mln-$58.5 mln (In U.S. dollars unless noted)
OTTAWA, May 27 (Reuters) - Zarlink Semiconductor Inc ZL.TO posted bigger than forecast sales and earnings on Thursday, and said revenue would grow between 3 percent and 5 percent in the upcoming first quarter.
The Ottawa-based company said it earned $6.8 million, or 5 cents a share, in its fourth quarter, versus a net loss of $50 million, or 41 Canadian cents a share, a year ago, when it took a $46.9 million goodwill impairment charge.
Profit in the most recent quarter was lifted by cost-cutting and efficiency, Zarlink said, but hurt by a foreign exchange loss of $1.2 million
Revenue rose 15 percent to $58.5 million while its gross margin was 53 percent.
The company had forecast sales of $56 million to $58 million and earnings per share between 2 cents and 4 cents, excluding foreign exchange. Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 4 cents a share and revenue of $57 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said it expects first-quarter sales of $57 million to $58.5 million, gross margins of between 50 percent and 51 percent, and earnings per share ranging from 7 cents to 9 cents, excluding items.
Earlier this month, Zarlink said it sold its optical product group to Swiss-based Tyco Electronics TEL.N for about $15 million in cash. The Canadian company has been sharpening its focus to target markets in network timing, implanted medical device and line circuit chips.
$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Susan Taylor; editing by Rob Wilson