Supercomputer maker Cray reports third-quarter financial results.

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Supercomputer maker Cray’s third-quarter sales and profit were down slightly, and the company’s outlook for full-year profitability hinges on acceptance of a key project.

The Seattle company reported third-quarter sales of $54.6 million, down less than a percent from the year-earlier period. Profit was $5 million, or 15 cents a share, down 1.9 percent.

If the Oak Ridge National Laboratory accepts a Cray supercomputer capable of performing 1,000 trillion calculations per second before the end of the year, the company expects full-year revenue of around $265 million and to be profitable from operations.

If acceptance is pushed into 2009, Cray expects about $100 million less in revenue, as well as a net loss. During the quarter, cabinets for the Oak Ridge supercomputer were delivered ahead of schedule, Cray CEO Peter Ungaro said in a statement. “We have now shifted our focus to completing the installation and achieving system acceptance,” he said.

Cray also began selling during the quarter a lower-cost supercomputer aimed at a more mainstream market.

The company continued to increase its spending on research and development in the quarter. It also burned through $11.4 million in cash and short-term investments, leaving the company with $103.6 million as of Sept. 30.