With the legal issues that plagued it for more than two years assuaged, Beazer's next great task is similar to that of other builders--return to profitability.

Nobody's expecting that to have happened in the company's third quarter, which ended June 30. Analysts are estimating losses ranging from $0.88 a share to $1.92, with the average at $1.53 for its third quarter. All would be improvements from its second quarter loss of $2.97 a share.

Beazer will release its third-quarter earnings after market close at 5 p.m. Thursday, followed immediately by an unusually timed conference call with analysts.

In addition to earnings, the company is expected to report on progress it has made in restructuring its debt. It had been waiting for resolution of federal investigations of mortgage fraud to get on with that increasingly urgent chore. But in May, shortly before settling the mortgage fraud charges with the federal government, executives said they were starting that process immediately.

Beazer has a high debt level, but much of it doesn't start coming due for a couple of years. Still, because its tangible net worth has been eroding, it has started triggering covenants on its loans, necessitating some reconfiguration of debt.

The company said in May it planned to "address" its capital structure with the goals of reducing its debt and interest costs, increasing its net worth, and protecting its liquidity.

Another goal Beazer has set is to end its fiscal year Sept. 30 with the same half a billion in cash it had on hand at the end of last year. CFO Allan P. Merrill said that would be possible if the company can close 4,000 houses in the year. At the halfway point, it had sold 1,752.

Though Merrill acknowledged that any costs of restructuring the company's debt could thwart that goal.