Belgian electronics group Option NV forecast a 44 percent drop in full-year revenue, worse than analysts had predicted, sending its shares down more than 8 percent to a three-week low in early trades.

The company, which makes cards, USB sticks and embedded modems for surfing the net on laptops, said it had been forced to offer discounts on older products and took a hit from the weak dollar against the euro in the fourth quarter.

Its statement came a week after it had set a target of 20 percent revenue growth in 2010, since when it has set out plans to raise 20 million euros in a rights issue.

A number of analysts said the statement put last week's forecast in a different context and Bank Degroof said it was suspending its rating and price target on the stock.

Option shares fell by as much as 8.8 percent to 1.25 euros before recovering to 1.29 euros by 0840 GMT, still the steepest faller on Euronext Brussels.

The company said 2009 revenue would be between 148 million euros ($223.1 million) and 153 million, about 44 percent below last year, with a fourth-quarter figure of 20 to 25 million, a quarterly revenue level not seen since 2004.

Analysts were on average expecting full-year revenue of 168.3 million euros, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

I believe that it could be some kind of clean-up quarter. It should come in better next year but this will still take some time, said Bart Jooris, an analyst at BNP Paribas Fortis. It becomes a wait-and-see story.

Option, which made a loss in the first nine months of this year, added it was well positioned for next year because it had cut costs and would benefit from the launch of an e-book reader which contains one of its products.

The group has struggled to cope with a market that has shifted to high volumes and low margins and with competition from Asian rivals such as Huawei Technologies.

Last month, it said it would move from commoditised hardware into more value-added areas such as combining software, hardware and services.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich and David Holmes)

($1=.6638 euros)